MINNEAPOLIS — Cellphone video of a black Minnesota man’s arrest is attracting attention eight months after it was recorded, and now a civilian police review board is looking into the incident.
Chris Lollie, 28, said he was doing nothing wrong when he was sitting in a St. Paul skyway in January. But authorities who were called to investigate a report of trespassing used a stun gun on him after they said he refused to give his name, refused to follow orders, and resisted arrest.
In the wake of racial unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, a YouTube video of the incident that Lollie posted in August has been viewed more than 1 million times.
In the video, an officer asks Lollie for his name. Lollie responds that he doesn’t have to give it because he’s done nothing wrong. He tells the officer he was sitting in a part of the skyway that he said didn’t have any signs indicating it was private.
“The problem is I’m black,” he said on the recording.
He was charged with trespassing, disorderly conduct and obstructing the legal process, but those charges were dropped in July.
Lollie posted the video to YouTube on Aug. 26, shortly after he got his phone back from police. It prompted St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman to call for a review by the Police-Civilian Internal Affairs Review Commission.
Police Chief Tom Smith said that he welcomed the review and that the video doesn’t show the full story. Two officers who can be seen in the video appear to be white; the third officer is not on camera.
Smith and Coleman met Monday with black community leaders, who also said they would work together to review the incident.
Jeff Martin, president of the St. Paul branch of the NAACP, said Tuesday that he would like to see an independent investigator look into the case.
“From the community, there’s not a high level of trust with the civilian review board,” which includes police officers, he said.
Officers said in their reports that they tried to reason with Lollie while questioning him, but then he squared his shoulders and clenched his fist as if he was getting ready to fight. Officers then grabbed him and tried to arrest him. The police reports said they used the stun gun on his leg because he was struggling.
A phone number for Lollie was not listed, and it was not immediately clear if he had an attorney.
The St. Paul Police Federation is standing by the three officers, saying they acted responsibly and respectfully.