“I Am Not Your Brother” – St. Paul Cops Allegedly Taser and Arrest Black Male for Sitting in Public Space (Video)

Twin Cities Daily Planet brings our attention to this story: St. Paul cops allegedly taser and arrest black male for sitting in public space. City Pages provides some details: St. Paul police roughly arrest black man sitting in skyway

Note, this is hard to watch.

There are a number of transportation and land use and other aspects to this case which are worthy of discussion:

1. Do you have to identify yourself to the police? It depends. When driving yes – driving is a privilege. When walking (in Minnesota) no – “police can never compel you to identify yourself without reasonable suspicion to believe you’re involved in illegal activity.” Minnesota is not a stop and identify state, unless the police have “reasonable suspicion”. [1] [2] [3]

2. Is the skyway a public space? It is being patrolled by public workers (police), so apparently it is – though I am sure the law is vaguer than it should be – so the rights should be the same as on the street.

3. What are the details? The comment thread at TCDP suggests it starts near Caribou or Arby’s on the St. Paul Skyway System. He is going to New Horizons Day Care to pick up his child.

Officer1Officer2

4. What happened after the incident – Charges were dropped according to City Pages. Did the police apologize to the man in front of his child? Was this incident expunged from his record? Did the officers have reasonable suspicion justifying their actions?

5. In case it isn’t obvious, posting photos of police officers is legal. [1],[2]

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99 Responses to “I Am Not Your Brother” – St. Paul Cops Allegedly Taser and Arrest Black Male for Sitting in Public Space (Video)

  1. Adam Miller
    Adam Miller August 28, 2014 at 9:50 am #

    Perhaps it’s not the right topic for this forum, and frankly, I have no experience or qualifications to say anything definitive, but the question this raises for me is how can this be considered effective policing?

    Let’s assume for the sake of analysis that the police have correctly identified a problem (trespassing or loitering or whatever they thought they needed to address). At the time of this man’s arrest, that problem has been solved. He’s moved. Problem solved. Move on.

    But it appears that these cops instead were concerned with a different “problem”: he hadn’t fully deferred to them and acquiesced to their requests. Rather than let that go, they chose to escalate. Why? What do they accomplish from doing so? The only answer I have is that they embarrass themselves and their department.

    • Katherine August 28, 2014 at 3:08 pm #

      Watching and hearing what happened makes me sick!! Can’t believe those cops did that. Can’t believe people that are suppose to keep us safe… Put someone in danger by tasing. Really hope those cops got fired.

    • Joey Vincent August 29, 2014 at 3:06 am #

      I just interviewed Chris MinnesotaFresh Lollie about this video on the Filter Free Amerika podcast. He details EXACTLY what happened before and after what is shown in this video. Find this episode at http://www.FilterFreeAmerika.com

  2. Matt Brillhart August 28, 2014 at 10:09 am #

    Man. Watching that video made my heart sink.

    A few thoughts (without getting specifically into the obvious racial issues that have been at the forefront of conversation these past three weeks):

    1. This took place on January 31. Strange that it just came out now.
    2. I wonder why the man did not press any charges against the male officer. That was completely unreasonable behavior. I think he would have at least gotten a monetary settlement. The City Pages story says all charges were dropped. No charges have been filed against SPPD.
    3. (and this one does relate to land use and race/class) I’d bet real money that the white male cop does not live in St. Paul (or Minneapolis), but in some distant suburb. I truly believe that residency requirements for police officers would do wonders for the relationships between police and the communities they serve. There’s been a lot of talk recently about hiring more officers of color to better reflect the community, but how much does that really even matter if the officers of color live in Maple Grove? I’d much rather have actual members of the community doing the policing rather than a token diversity of non-city residents.

  3. Andrew B August 28, 2014 at 10:21 am #

    Wow that made me mad. I can’t even imagine my reaction if I was sitting and waiting in public, minding my own business, and police showed up and started to haul me off to jail. He was much more calm and well spoken than I would be.

    With the video/audio in hand the first thing I would have done is hire a lawyer and proceed to sue the bejeebus out of the SPPD for wrongful arrest.

    • Adam Miller
      Adam Miller August 28, 2014 at 11:03 am #

      I can’t imagine my reaction in no small part because it’s really unlikely to happen to me.

  4. Elliot Altbaum
    Elliot Altbaum August 28, 2014 at 10:58 am #

    I am going to disagree with Adam that this isn’t the right place for this topic. Solving the issue of police harassment of people of color is critical to the success of the urbanist ideals for which this site so frequently advocates.

    This site frequently demands that streets better operate for more users: bikers, walkers, and those 8 and 80. In fact this site extols that streets and public space are the keys to urbanist success. When 37% of the population of Minneapolis is non-white, police harassment limits 37% of the population from fully utilizing the public realm. Police harassment is anithetical to the ideals of urbanists and must stop.

    Urbanists should be demanding that everyone has a right to the public realm and high quality public realms in all neighborhoods.

  5. Nathaniel M Hood
    Nathaniel August 28, 2014 at 1:06 pm #

    I’m already bracing myself to cringe when I hear that these officers will be placed on paid administrative leave. Between this and the City of St. Paul fatally shooting someone today, it’s looking like major change is needed: http://www.twincities.com/crime/ci_26423104/st-paul-police-shoot-suspect-west-side

  6. StanH August 28, 2014 at 1:49 pm #

    Absolutely atrocious police behavior! He should RUN, not walk to a civil rights attorney. This isn’t Nazi Germany and we don’t “have to show our papers”. The fact that they did this in front of his children should add some zeroes for intentional infliction of emotional distress. Go get ’em!!!

  7. LeroyBrwn August 28, 2014 at 3:16 pm #

    They suspected him of wrong doing. He failed to identify. Then when asked to place hands behind his back he refused. That is resisting arrest.

    If he simply offered the ID he would not have had further issue. Once he refused that and was told he was being arrested he should have followed police orders and placed his hands behind his back. He did not, he suffered for his poor choices.

    Instead of jumping into the “OH, it’s cuz Im black..”, he should have done like everyone has to do when dealing with police.

    Source – white guy, arrested quite a few times, and twice for less than what this guy did.

    • StanH August 28, 2014 at 3:31 pm #

      Since he was sitting in a public place, not violating any laws, WHY did they suspect him of wrongdoing? It’s not a huge cognitive leap to “‘cuz I’m Black”. In case you didn’t know it, you’re not legally required to submit to an ILLEGAL arrest, which this clearly was, so he had every right to refuse to put his hands behind his back when ordered.

      The whole incident was a CLEAR violation of the 4th Amendment, and I sincerely hope that he gets a pitbull attorney to help put an end to BS like this! (At least at that police department). The fact that the police were willing to act like this with the camera running is proof that they either don’t give a damn, or are so horribly trained that they think that their behavior was legal and acceptable.

      • LeroyBrwn August 28, 2014 at 3:55 pm #

        “I want to find out who you are and what the problem was back there” is the first thing the officer says to him. The officer is doing exactly what she is paid to do in that circumstance, She asked to see his ID re; that incident. She has the authority to ask for the ID in that situation.

        The “victim” even mentions an incident, other than “sitting there doing nothing”.

        @ the 5 minute mark the “victim” admits he refused her request to stop and talk.That in itself gives the officers full right to stop him.

        All he had to do was submit for 2:00 of his life, deal with the situation properly, and then be on his way. Instead he refuses to cooperate with an officer investigating an incident, refused to ID his self re; that incident, refused to stop, refused to place hands behind his back. His telling the police “don’t touch me” “I could have run” and other comments display his thinking and aggressiveness at the time.

        His refusals put him in a situation that escalated. The police did not put him that position, the police did as they were trained, and the police behaved properly.

        The hypocrisy of you people is on display as well. If this guy had been white, the video would never have been posted. If you choose you can search and find hundreds of examples police doing the same thing to white people under the same situation.

        • Matt Steele August 28, 2014 at 4:03 pm #

          Or you can watch the thousands videos online of white people in the same situation that say “Am I under arrest? Am I free to go?” and nothing else, and eventually the police let them go unless they are really under arrest or not free to go.

        • StanH August 28, 2014 at 4:21 pm #

          You’re right, police “have authority” to ask for anything. What they DON’T have authority to do is detain someone (i.e. keep them from walking away) without legal “founded suspicion” that the person has (or is about to commit a crime). They do NOT have the Authority to arrest someone without legal “probable cause” (an even higher standard) that the person has (or is about to commit a crime).

          The police (as in this case) can’t “manufacture ” probable cause by unlawfully detaining someone then claiming that the person committed a crime by protesting the unlawful detention. I think that the police behavior was reprehensible (and unconstitutional), REGARDLESS of the color of the victim. That being said, if you could find hundreds of examples of police doing this to Whites, I’d guarantee that you could find thousands of it being done to minorities.

          • Matt Steele August 28, 2014 at 4:26 pm #

            Absolutely correct. My point was that not only are non-whites subject to more harassment and suspicion, they are also less likely to enjoy their constitutional protections during police encounters.

        • Adam Miller
          Adam Miller August 29, 2014 at 10:33 am #

          In what world does exercising your right not to speak to a police officer give rise to a police right to detain someone?

          • StanH August 29, 2014 at 11:11 am #

            My point exactly!

    • Adam Miller
      Adam Miller August 28, 2014 at 3:34 pm #

      He could have done many things to have avoided the situation. Why does he have an obligation to do any of those things in this context?

      And why do they have any right to arrest him for not showing an ID?

    • Matt Steele August 28, 2014 at 3:49 pm #

      Why should he “simply” give his ID and surrender his rights? You’re not required to identify yourself.

      “Am I under arrest? Am I free to go?” It’s a sad reality that those are the only things people are taught to say to cops these days, but cops brought that on themselves by acting in these ways.

      I think it’s telling that the courts have made it illegal to have a residency requirement, but they have made it legal for PDs to have IQ tests for hiring. With an IQ maximum, not minimum.

      • LeroyBrwn August 28, 2014 at 3:57 pm #

        “Am I under arrest? Am I free to go?” It’s a sad reality that those are the only things people are taught to say to cops these days, but cops brought that on themselves by acting in these ways.
        —-

        No, he was not free to go. He was being detained under so the officer could investigate the earlier incident. When a cop says “stop” you do not have authority in that situation to ignore the officer’s order.

        Think otherwise? Go become involved in an incident. Wait for the police to show up. Try and walk away. Then learn what happens.

    • MILO September 1, 2014 at 3:54 pm #

      I don’t have to identify myself for walking, idiot or wear a number, a tat, a sign last time I checked this was a democracy!

  8. Matthias Leyrer
    Matthias Leyrer August 28, 2014 at 4:45 pm #

    I don’t want to sound like I’m unsympathetic, but I kind of agree that this doesn’t really have a place on streets.

    It feels like we’re taking advantage of an unfortunate situation elsewhere in America and using it for clickbait. The incident happened in January, if we were truly concerned, why didn’t we write about it then?

    And “it’s a public space” issue seems off. Don’t almost all videos like this happen on public spaces? Otherwise you need a warrant to execute an arrest on private property (unless there’s something heinous going on.)

    I’m not trying to sound like I don’t care, I do. I just don’t want to see us lose our focus on “dedicated to expanding the conversation about land use and transportation issues in the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota.”

    It seems as though (this is my opinion, please don’t take it offensively) this degrades the credibility that we’ve worked to build about land use by engaging in a discussion that probably not a lot of us have any real experience about.

    Thanks for listening.

    • Valentine August 28, 2014 at 5:25 pm #

      I think it’s salient because we have an active conversation about the hybrid space of the skyways (especially in relation to the assumed public space of streets), because of the role of policing in community inhabitation of streets, and, as others have pointed out, because this is information that has apparently just become available. It also helps us figure out how to do things about issues that national events have made people aware of here at home.

    • LisaG August 28, 2014 at 5:30 pm #

      Matthias, this particular incident didn’t only happen in January. It happens every day in America. Being a white guy, you apparently didn’t know that.
      You might not have “any real experience about it,” but plenty of others do.
      Their constitutional rights are trampled, but you think this is inconvenient now?
      EVERYONE NEEDS TO SEE THIS TRAVESTY.

    • Walker Angell
      Walker Angell August 29, 2014 at 7:07 am #

      Police actions like this appears to be put a chill on the use of public spaces and streets just as much as putting up fences or other barriers or not putting in sidewalks or cycletracks. Nor is this much different than problems of LE arresting bicycle riders for following the law (when the cop doesn’t know the law and fortunately not a big issue in MN).

      If you get a chance read Tony Bouza’s ‘Police Unbound’ for a bit of interesting insight on these incidents.

    • Matt Brillhart August 29, 2014 at 2:58 pm #

      Matthias, I respectfully disagree. Discussing the clash between public, private, and quasi-public spaces is very much in line with streets.mn’s mission. The release of this particular incident does come at an awkward time just 3 weeks after Ferguson, so it is difficult to separate this from the greater discussion of race, class, and excessive use of force by police. I actually think this particular incident in St. Paul is somewhat less about race than Ferguson or other recent events. Now, I don’t doubt for a second that Mr. Lollie was treated differently than a white person would have been in the same situation, but I’m not sure that race is the sole issue here. This seems to be more about one’s constitutional rights to “loiter” in a public space vs. a quasi-public space and where we draw that line. Plazas, skyways, and other quasi-public spaces have been written about extensively on streets.mn

      Furthermore, this post spurred a related “Chart of the Day” post showing the percentage of police officers who actually live in the urban communities they serve, which absolutely relates to land use, demographics, etc. I found that chart fascinating and terrifying, as it confirmed my worst fears and then some: Minneapolis Police do not live in Minneapolis, almost universally (something like 90% live outside city limits).

  9. joe August 28, 2014 at 7:06 pm #

    The initial incident was allegedly trespassing at a bank space in a mall, reported by a security guard. We don’t see video of that.

    If the suspect was involved in that, wouldn’t police have acted properly? People often forget that malls are private spaces and if you don’t leave when asked, you’ve become a trespasser.

    • StanH August 28, 2014 at 8:12 pm #

      There’s a reason ALL of the charges were immediately dropped! The facts indicate that he was in a public place (the skyway) outside of a bank. The bank’s security guard, (who presumably had NO jurisdiction over the public skyway) approached him and was most likely told to “buzz off”. Either before or during the subsequent police contact, Mr. Lollie had LEFT the location and was in the process of picking up his children when the police decided to escalate matters by arresting him in front of his children. IF he was “trespassing”, why didn’t they arrest him at the bank? The police FOLLOWED him from the bank to the school where he was arrested by the late-arriving Ofc. Schmidt, who wanted to be a hardass, in front of his children’s school. I believe that the police’s actions are indefensible, and I really hope that this guy gets a GOOD attorney.

      • Joe August 28, 2014 at 8:34 pm #

        Ok, so the mall cop got it wrong. That explains why charges were dropped. But, police don’t know that when they get the call. They wanna get to the bottom of the call and this guy won’t cooperate. Guess they should have arrested him straight off for trespassing based on the mall cop’s word? Let him go as if nothing happened? I am trying to see how they do this right with a guy who won’t cooperate after being accused of a crime?

        • StanH August 28, 2014 at 11:46 pm #

          Short answer, follow the law. People that are “suspected” of committing a crime go free every day. The police took an instance of someone sitting in a public place and turned it into a violent arrest merely because the man exercised his Constitutional rights to not identify himself. Let’s say that he DID trespass by sitting in a public place violating no laws for 10 minutes (which I definitely DON’T think is the case). Exactly WHAT did the police lose by walking away?? Nothing, he had ALREADY left the location! The 5th Amendment says that we DON’T have to “cooperate” when the police are trying to charge us. Every time that the police are smacked down for violating the Constitution, it makes it less likely that they’ll do it to the next person. (Especially if you hit them in the pocket).

          • Joe August 29, 2014 at 7:06 am #

            You’re using 20/20 hindsight in your arguments. The video clearly shows he’s walking away from the police (quickly) until the male officer shows up and blocks his way. He refuses to answer questions (which may be his legal right if he did nothing wrong). But I’m not sure fleeing is wise or legal, at least according to the ACLU. https://www.aclu.org/drug-law-reform-immigrants-rights-racial-justice/know-your-rights-what-do-if-you#2

            • Adam Miller
              Adam Miller August 29, 2014 at 10:40 am #

              He’s video taping his conversation with a police office, who appears to be escorting him toward her backup (at minimum, seems to want him to move in the direction he’s going). How is that “fleeing?”

              • Joe August 29, 2014 at 11:03 am #

                Video is shaky. Hard to know if he was being escorted or walking away. He clearly wasn’t following ACLU.org advice:

                “IF YOU ARE STOPPED FOR QUESTIONING
                Stay calm. Don’t run. Don’t argue, resist or obstruct the police, even if you are innocent or police are violating your rights. Keep your hands where police can see them.”

                Did anyone consider this before making it about race?

                • Adam Miller
                  Adam Miller August 29, 2014 at 11:10 am #

                  I don’t see what shaky has to do with it. She’s not telling him to stop. She’s not directing him somewhere other than where they both appear to be going. He ends up at her partner. And they are engaged in active conversation the whole time. All of that is pretty strong evidence that she did not see him as fleeing.

                  Otherwise, you seem to be failing to see the distinction between what’s good advice for dealing with cops (who may do violence to you whether justified or not) and what’s legally required. The cops are not empowered to arrest you because you didn’t follow the ACLU’s advice.

                • StanH August 29, 2014 at 11:20 am #

                  The ACLU’s (whose work I respect) advice doesn’t trump the Constitution! If the police doesn’t have “founded suspicion” that you have/are about to commit a crime, they can’t detain you. PERIOD!! IF he was “trespassing” (a REAL stretch) in a seemingly public location, he had peaceably left the location BEFORE the police intervened. Hit them in the pocketbook, and they’ll stop acting in such a high-handed, abusive manner.

                  • Joe August 29, 2014 at 7:19 pm #

                    “He got in my face” doesn’t sound like the person in this video “peaceably left.” It also implies the guard told him he was trespassing, and he tried to explain to the officer it was a public space (which it wasn’t, which is probably what the guard was in his face about).

                    As it has been shown here https://streets.mn/2014/08/28/i-am-not-your-brother-st-paul-cops-allegedly-taser-and-arrest-black-male-for-sitting-in-public-space-video/#comment-103871, the leather seats are reserved and NOT public. He was trespassing and trying to claim (wrongly) his innocence to the police officer.

                    ALCU’s advice would have been great. Sometimes when you think you’re innocent and being targeted for race, it’s your world view that needs adjusting.

                    • Adam Miller
                      Adam Miller August 29, 2014 at 9:55 pm #

                      Or better yet,police attitudes

        • Adam Miller
          Adam Miller August 29, 2014 at 10:38 am #

          The guy has left the space into which he was allegedly trespassing. What’s to be gotten to the bottom of?

  10. Joey Vincent August 29, 2014 at 3:07 am #

    I just interviewed Chris MinnesotaFresh Lollie about this video on the Filter Free Amerika podcast. He details EXACTLY what happened before and after what is shown in this video. Find this episode at http://www.FilterFreeAmerika.com

  11. Jeff August 29, 2014 at 9:04 am #

    Unlike Minneapolis, where skyways are entirely privatized, the City of St. Paul owns a roughly 10 foot wide public easement through the skyway of most buildings on the skyway system (including this one) which allows people to walk unencumbered in city-controlled space. That is a pathway meant for movement; there are policies that discourage loitering in that easement. Buildings tend to provide seating outside that easement, such that they can control loitering themselves.

    Based on the best reports I have of where individual was seated (the chairs on the skyway level of the First National Bank Building, the Arby’s description does not fit with the videotape), and based on firsthand knowledge of skyway easements, my assumption has always been that technically those chairs are next to, but not in, the skyway easement.

    The analog is sidewalks, which just like skyways, are usually created through a city-owned easement in your yard. Legally, this case would be akin to someone sitting on your front patio chairs (which you control incontrovertibly), versus lingering on the sidewalk (which is often perfectly legal).

    This is not to judge one way or the other the subsequent conduct of the officers, and it seems the individual very well could have been singled out for his race, though again I have no evidence one way or the other. But on the basic facts of whether the seating area was, in fact, public space, I am quite doubtful it is.

    • Alex Cecchini
      Alex Cecchini August 29, 2014 at 4:06 pm #

      I’d say it’s more analogous to someone sitting on chairs you specifically put out along the sidewalk of your front yard without a sign saying no trespassing. There are many lobbies/loitering areas in the skyway that DO have signs denoting the space for building tenants only (or some language that allows patrons of businesses like restaurants/coffee chops/etc nearby). Securian and Golden Rule buildings both have these areas. First National has no such signage.

      Additionally, the analogy would need to include you as a landowner allowing SOME people to loiter while others receive no such treatment. This is, of course, perfectly legal (I’m within my right to not allow some people in my home while others are welcome as guests). But when it’s quite clear that race is the major reason for the suspicion, request to leave, and calling of the cops, it begs the necessary question of fairness and equity in our quasi-public spaces.

      And yes, I’m quite confident this is about race. I spent some time this morning and walked over to the building. I say right down in the seats, facing the security desk, and didn’t move for over 10 minutes. The guards never once looked nervous or approached me asking me to move along. I’m white, and I have very little doubt that played into it.

      • StanH August 29, 2014 at 4:39 pm #

        Well said. Having never been to that building, myself, do you know what the seats are for? (If not for the public)?

        • Alex Cecchini
          Alex Cecchini August 29, 2014 at 4:59 pm #

          They are 3 sets of leather chairs facing each other with a small table between them. They may indeed be part of the building’s private space, not within the public easement, and intended for use by employees having quick meetings with clients, suppliers, or potential employees where it doesn’t make sense to bring them in through security.

          However, it’s not signed as such and the intent of these spaces is clearly to be used by the public if they desire/need to for a reasonable amount of time. If the victim wasn’t harassing anyone by sitting or taking up space needed by tenant employees (my experience is that in non-lunch hours these spaces are almost always empty), loitering is heavily tolerated. I proved this myself today.

          • StanH August 29, 2014 at 7:29 pm #

            Thanks. Much better picture now. Your last response to Joe was “spot-on”. The police IMHO, escalated the situation.

      • Adam Miller
        Adam Miller August 29, 2014 at 9:45 pm #

        Thanks for doing that. I thought about doing it too, but haven’t had the chance to switch downtowns.

      • Joe August 30, 2014 at 7:43 am #

        6 months have passed. The bank could have a different policy, esp. after the tasing. Different guards even. I’m surprised how everyone wants to conclude it was about race.

        • StanH August 30, 2014 at 8:56 am #

          True, there’s no conclusive evidence that it was about race. However, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, . . .

  12. Adam Miller
    Adam Miller August 29, 2014 at 10:49 am #

    The department’s statement arguably makes things worse:

    “At one point, the officers believed he might either run or fight with them.”

    He didn’t run. He didn’t fight with them. But they thought he might, so they used force to detaining him including their taser. Okay.

    • Joe August 29, 2014 at 7:00 pm #

      He trespassed (technically), although it sounds like the seats aren’t marked to make it obvious. Even if there were no signs, the guard apparently explained it to him (“he got in my face,”) and instead of apologizing (which is what I would have done), this guy is arrogant and tells the police (and probably the security guard) how the law (in his world) works. He doesn’t listen to what she is saying, and then says it’s because he’s black. He’s in “speak only” mode, perhaps because of his adrenaline. Granted, he does believe he’s innocent, and I can see how he gets to this place, but he’s got an attitude problem that doesn’t help his situation.

      No, he didn’t fight. That would have been a charge of assaulting an officer. He did resist arrest, and that’s pretty clear on the video (“Don’t touch me”, and “Seriously?” when the officer tells him to put his hands behind his back — the correct answer is to put your hands behind your back).

      This video could have been one of the many episodes of Cops on Fox that end with a charge of resisting arrest because a person doesn’t remain calm and doesn’t obey lawful orders, because they believe they are “innocent.”

      I’d be surprised if this goes any further than our “someone on the internet is wrong!” blog banter.

      • Alex Cecchini
        Alex Cecchini August 29, 2014 at 7:19 pm #

        I don’t think many people are arguing that he didn’t trespass (at least technically). It is probably 100% true that the area with seats isn’t in the public right of way, and that even if it were the seats’ ownership may give the building tenant (and their hired security) the right to enforce trespassing rules.

        However, 2 things are also clear: 1) there is no signage saying this, which is different from many other skyway areas that DO explicitly state it, begging the question from a general John Q’s perspective of if the security guard was correct in his assertion regarding this particular space with no marking (at least in the moment, you would be within reason to disbelieve it at least until they called the cops), 2) this man frequently uses the skyways and is aware of places to sit, etc, and is also therefore aware that many passers by (non building employees) use these quasi-public indoor plazas all the time without harassment, leading him to believe he should be able to do the same.

        Instead of saying what this man should have done (since his actions were no different than thousands of daily skyway users), we should ask what the police should have done. Conor Friedersdorf answered that question today on The Atlantic:

        “The female officer shown in the beginning of the video could easily have de-escalated the encounter by saying, “You’re right, sir, you have every right to refuse to show me identification, and if you’re just picking up your kids I’m so sorry to have bothered you. If you don’t mind, I just want to walk with you to confirm that your story checks out so I can inform the 911 caller of their error. That way we can make sure this never happens again when you’re just here to pick up your kids.”

        Or she could’ve said, “Sir, I totally see why this is confusing–a lot of people would think so. Let me try to explain. That totally looks like a public seating area, but it’s actually private. Don’t you think they should have a sign saying so? Calling me may seem like an overreaction, but technically they can ask you to leave. You’re walking away now, so there’s actually no problem as long as you’re not going to go back. Are you? Okay, then we have no problem, have a wonderful day.” “

        • Joe August 29, 2014 at 7:44 pm #

          One of the police statements I read said it was not the first time the guy had been told by the guard. Granted, maybe this was inconsistent enforcement of a rule, perhaps even motivated by race. But that is not injustice by the police, who were called about a trespasser who was belligerent and continued with the same attitude. Where’s the humility in this person to even consider he might have broken the law before trying to say it’s because he’s black?

          It reminds me of my own experience when I called police once because a woman would honk her horn to pick up her daughter at 6 pm at the day-care across the street from my house. Before calling the police, I asked the lady politely if she could not honk her horn because it disturbed everyone in the neighborhood (she was infamous because it was a daily occurrence). She would honk several times until her daughter finally came out.

          Her response to my polite request was to honk her horn repeatedly and yell, “I have the right to honk my horn if I want to!!” So, I calmly walked around to the back of her car and wrote down her license plate. She asked me why I was doing that, and I told her I had the right to call the police because she was disturbing the peace. She then accused me of targeting her because she was black (as if that somehow made her horn more annoying?)! I targeted her because she was honking every day repeatedly at 6 pm, and had no consideration for what she was doing.

          I never saw how the police dealt with her, but I saw her car many more times parked across the street to pick up her daughter. She never honked again. Sometimes selected enforcing of rules is not about race.

          • Adam Miller
            Adam Miller August 29, 2014 at 10:02 pm #

            There is video. That guy is not belligerent. He’s defiant, because he’s being treated as as criminal for sitting in some chairs, but he’s in no way belligerent.

            Look, this comes down to you thinking that anyone told to move on had best comply in contrast to others thinking that maybe there are limits on who can tell you to move, ask for your id and place you under arrest.

            Maybe you’re right that the world should be such that any cop ordering anything is justified, but that’s not the law and it’s not the world that many of us want to live in.

            But you’re probably way more persecuted because some said something to you once.

            • Joe August 30, 2014 at 7:31 am #

              Belligerent is too strong; I agree. He’s being aggressive, however, asserting his view of what is a public space (turns out he’s wrong).

              Anyone accused of a crime (trespassing) will be investigated. Perhaps if you put another crime in place, it would make more sense: shoplifting, assault, defamation. Just because he’s not trespassing when the cops show up doesn’t mean he wasn’t trespassing before.

              When did this become about me? My anecdote was to point out that 1) some people feel (as the woman who was honking for weeks at the same time every day) that because other people do something (honk) without consequences that they have the right to do it, too, and 2) rather than recognize what they’re doing is wrong and take responsibility for their actions, they try to explain the persecution as racially motivated.

              • Adam Miller
                Adam Miller August 30, 2014 at 9:57 am #

                Your second paragraph is simply untrue. The cops don’t spend their time investigating petty misdemeanors that are not in progress.

                To borrow an analogy from one of the lawyers quoted by the city pages, they won’t interview witnesses to find out who spit on the sidewalk, even if they might right a ticket if they observed it.

                These cops grossly overreacted. That should be obvious from the fact that he was not prosecuted for anything (among other things). If you want to conclude they would have done the same to anyone behaving as Lollie did, you are free to do so, but I’m not going to join you.

                • StanH August 30, 2014 at 1:15 pm #

                  Agree completely. (Too bad that this site doesn’t have “like” button for comments).

                • Joe August 30, 2014 at 7:10 pm #

                  Cops will and do investigate when people complain. I dont know the law enough to know if trespassing is petty, especially if it happened several times.

                  Your spitting analogy would not work if the spit was on someone’s private space and a security guard told the person spitting was against the law. Let’s take it a step further in the direction of the story and say the spitter protests to say other people spit here and don’t get in trouble… Its cuz I’m black!

                  Leroybrwn says it best at the top of this thread. Watch a few episodes of Cops and see how this happens to whites and blacks alike when they become aggressive when police are investigating.

      • Adam Miller
        Adam Miller August 29, 2014 at 9:50 pm #

        It’s really easy for those of us who never face unwarranted police scrutiny to say what he should have done, but none of that excuses obvious police overreaction or an arrest for “contempt of cop” as this pretty clearly was.

        The cop might want you to be passive and compliant, but that doesn’t mean you have to be on pain of arrest and taser.

      • StanH August 30, 2014 at 2:29 pm #

        Fyi, Joe, it appears that Mr. Lollie is doing the smart thing and going further than “someone on the internet is wrong!” blog banter.

        http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/08/29/minnesota-man-will-file-civil-rights-suit-against-cops-who-tased-him-for-not-identifying-himself/

        • Joe August 30, 2014 at 7:13 pm #

          Thanks for the link. That lawyer has little to lose. He got a decent settlement for police brutality in 2013. Google will give details. I’m betting it won’t go to trial.

          • StanH August 30, 2014 at 7:31 pm #

            Good odds that you’re right on that. Approx. 90% don’t go to trial. If the City is smart, they’ll settle quickly.

  13. Erik B August 29, 2014 at 11:23 am #

    I think this is appropriate for Streets.mn and I’m happy everyone on here is able to discuss it in a civilized way. Nice job!

  14. Mark August 29, 2014 at 8:28 pm #

    Just to offer another perspective, I thought the police were beyond reasonable and polite with this man until he escalated the situation. The police didn’t just happen on this guy and decide to harass him. They were called to investigate a complaint of trespassing, so there was reasonable suspicion of involvement in criminal activity – and “reasonable suspicion” is a very low bar. They did have the right to briefly detain him and ask his identity and he was refusing to cooperate. He could have cooperated and resolved the situation very easily. I thought he was baiting the police for purposes of his video. That being said, it may be that the security guards who initially dealt with him did so unfairly because of his race, but there’s not enough information in the articles I read to know exactly what happened. And shame on Chris MinnesotaFresh Lollie for being a homophobe and using “gay” as a derogatory term for the cop.

    • Adam Miller
      Adam Miller August 30, 2014 at 10:00 am #

      Where is the probable cause to arrest him?

      • Mark August 30, 2014 at 2:37 pm #

        The reasonable cause to arrest him on trespass is that security told him he was in a private area and had to leave, and he refused. The guards reporting that is sufficient reasonable cause. I would speculate that the probable cause on the obstructing the legal process charge is he appears to be trying to walk away from the police and is being uncooperative when they are legally detaining him — and that’s probably the sole reason he was arrested. But, I don’t think the video captures all of what transpired. I understand that the guards frequently have to ask people to move from that area. I walk past that area almost daily when I walk the skyways during my lunch hour. It’s not necessarily clear what the purpose of that area is, but it would never occur to me when I go by there that it’s a public place for me to sit.

        • Mark August 30, 2014 at 2:38 pm #

          Oops – said “reasonable,” meant “probable.”

        • Progressive Pride August 30, 2014 at 3:06 pm #

          Yet all charges were dismissed. Imagine that. So much for your “probable cause” theory.

          • Mark August 30, 2014 at 3:19 pm #

            Progressive Pride – just because charges were dropped doesn’t mean there was anything illegal about what the police did. Valid charges are dropped all the time. That doesn’t really go to the analysis of whether or not there is probable charge. I’m not a criminal law attorney, but I am an attorney so I do have a basic understanding of the process. I’m think I’m good with my analysis. Police have a lot of discretion to resolve a matter at the scene. Sometimes that’s a good thing and other times it’s not. Unfortunately, that discretion is often applied unfairly against people of color. But this guy made the situation worse by acting like an idiot.

        • Adam Miller
          Adam Miller August 31, 2014 at 8:57 am #

          He had left the place into which he had allegedly trespassed at the time of his arrest. A trespass of this sort is a petty misdemeanor. That means a ticket, not handcuffs.

          The obstructing the legal process appears to be an attempt to dress up the contempt of cop, but exercising your constitutional rights is not a crime.

          • Joe August 31, 2014 at 10:14 am #

            The physical arrest was for obstructing/resisting when cops were trying to investigate, not for trespassing. Things were quite cordial with the female officer until Mr. Lollie started insisting he didn’t trespass (when he in fact did).

            Try to do the same thing in a traffic violation. Insist you weren’t speeding and that you don’t have to show id because there was no speed limit sign. I’m pretty sure it will escalate to the same end. Police don’t just let you go if you have been implicated in a crime they are investigating and you insist on your innocence.

            • David Levinson
              DML August 31, 2014 at 11:20 am #

              Driving rules differ from walking rules, pedestrians don’t need to be licensed. Also Trespass has not been established, in fact the chairs are an invitation to sit. See today’s Strib for a link to the Facebook photo.

              • Mark August 31, 2014 at 12:00 pm #

                I would disagree that the FB page is an an invitation to sit. The audience of that page appears to be tenants, because the posts on that pagae are about tenant issues: tenant holiday parties, etc. The 1st National website marketing the building describes the area as a lounge for tenants and their guests: “A relaxing retreat or informal meeting space. Tenants and guests enjoy comfortable, stylish furnishings, free wireless internet access and, of course, convenient proximity to coffee and snacks in the nearby skyway.” Misinformation in the press is why people need to look to more than one source and check things about independently before making a judgment.

                • Matt Steele August 31, 2014 at 1:53 pm #

                  It’s almost like some people on the internet assume black folks to be guilty until proven innocent….

                  • Mark August 31, 2014 at 3:33 pm #

                    Wow Matt. You’re calling me a racist who believes all black folks are guilty because I point out that the building owners have said this lounge is for tenants and guests? I guess online forums aren’t a good place for respectful discussions because people like you feel comfortable insulting others when you don’t understand or don’t agree with someone else’s perspective. My original post said I thought he could have been treated unfairly by security because of his race. I assure you that I believe that because I am a white professional, security would assume I belonged in that lounge and I wouldn’t be asked to leave if I were sitting there, which is clearly wrong and racist. But, my point is that once the cops were called they behaved in a way that was legal. Lollie was mistaken about his rights and he bears a lot of responsibility for his arrest. What I was hoping to add to the conversation was my perspective not only as a person who uses those skyways and is familiar with that location, but also as an attorney with some knowledge of the legal issues that people seem to be confusing here. I find it frustrating that people have a tendency to rush to uninformed judgment and that they need to oversimplify complex issues. Good luck to you.

                    • StanH September 1, 2014 at 11:23 am #

                      Mark. I practiced criminal defense for nearly 20 years (and have represented clients in police misconduct cases in several counties), and I completely disagree with your position. My earlier analysis to another poster: “Wrong, wrong, wrong! The actual arrest was CLEARLY unlawful. The police CANNOT even detain (much less than arrest) a citizen unless they have a “founded suspicion” that the person has committed a crime. The only person that they talked to before arresting him (which requires “probable cause” (a higher standard)), was Mr. Lollie. HE told them that he was sitting in a public place, left after a verbal confrontation with a rent-a-cop and was on his way to pick up his children (who were apparently right there). At that point in time, there was no “founded suspicion” to justify a detention, much less than “probable cause” sufficient to support an arrest. (Keep in mind that the police had NOT spoken with the security guard when they decided to arrest him, they had just responded to a dispatch). I’d LOVE to take that case to trial!!

                • StanH September 1, 2014 at 10:35 am #

                  I’m really incredulous at the lengths that some people will go to justify what was clearly and illegal, unconstitutional (and immoral) arrest of Mr. Lollie. You wrote “The 1st National website marketing the building describes the area as a lounge for tenants and their guests”. His children attended the New Horizon’s school IN THAT BUILDING! Are you actually contending (with a straight face) that he was NOT a “guest”?? (And was completely within his rights to sit there for a few minutes to wait for his children)?

                  • Mark September 1, 2014 at 3:31 pm #

                    Stan – New Horizon School is in the Minnesota Mutual Building, not the 1st Nat’l Bank Building, so yes I’m contending with a straight face that you are wrong and he was not a guest of a tenant of the 1st Nat’l Bank Building. My area of practice is not criminal law, so maybe you can explain where my analysis goes wrong. Police have a right to detain a person when there is reasonable suspicion of involvement in criminal activity. That’s an extremely low standard — suspicion has to be articulable, not just whim, caprice or curiosity. Are you saying that a call from a building owner indicating that person is trespassing doesn’t meet that standard? Am I wrong that a call to police from a witness (e.g., building security) indicating a person trespassed, littered, killed their puppy or any other offense meets the standard of reasonable suspicion? Are you saying that 1st Nat’l doesn’t have a right to say their lounge is non-public (albeit it sounds like they apply the rules in a racist manner)? Isn’t refusing to depart the premises upon the demand of a lawful possessor a misdemeanor? Isn’t the fact that security said he refused to leave upon demand probable cause – didn’t Lollie also admit that? Can’t they detain him under a Terry stop for as long as an active investigation is going on? How can they finish their investigation and cite him or make a determination to let him go or arrest him if he is walking away? Isn’t fleeing a legal detention not probable cause on obstruction of legal process?

                    • StanH September 1, 2014 at 7:11 pm #

                      Mark, Not being a Minnesotan, I’ll have to take your word about the location of New Horizons school. I will point out that in the video of his arrest, shortly before we lose the video portion, you can clearly hear Mr. Lollie telling the officers words to the effect “that my children are right there.”

                      You are correct that “police have a right to detain a person when there is reasonable suspicion of involvement in criminal activity”. But, the police have to have specific, articulable reasons to support a brief (absent evidence establishing probable cause) investigatory detention. In this particular case, they never told him that he was being detained, never told him to stop walking, and basically skipped detention, and went straight to arrest, which as we both know, requires probable cause, a higher standard.

                      Can a call from a building owner indicating that person is trespassing doesn’t meet that give rise to an investigatory detention? Yes. A brief one. A “call to police from a witness (e.g., building security) indicating a person trespassed, littered, killed their puppy or any other offense” meets the standard of reasonable suspicion? Again, yes, to a brief constitutionally-proscribed investigatory detention. 1st Nat’l does have a right to say their lounge is non-public. But if minorities are the only ones being excluded, it violates the Civil Rights Act (and most likely a host of state statutes also). “Isn’t refusing to depart the premises upon the demand of a lawful possessor a misdemeanor?” In most cases, “yes”. In this case, Mr. Lollie had already left (if Minnesota is like the majority of states, police can’t arrest you for non-violent misdemeanors not committed in their presence). “Isn’t the fact that security said he refused to leave upon demand probable cause – didn’t Lollie also admit that?” It would be if the Officer had ascertained that the location was in fact private, that the person complaining had authority to tell people to leave, and Lollie had no legal justification to be there. “Can’t they detain him under a Terry stop for as long as an active investigation is going on?” They can make (a brief) investigatory stop. “How can they finish their investigation and cite him or make a determination to let him go or arrest him if he is walking away?” How they complete their investigation (of him) is not his concern (or legal duty). “Isn’t fleeing a legal detention not probable cause on obstruction of legal process?” Come on, Mark. He clearly wasn’t “fleeing” not only was he walking, he told the police officers where he was going. Hardly the definition of fleeing.

                      I believe that Mr. Lollie, by explaining his reason for being there AND where he was going, did more than was Constitutionally-required. If we allow police to arrest you for not helping them with your investigation of you, we’ve practically eviscerated the 5th Amendment. I’ve handled a good dozen police misconduct cases, in both state and Federal court and negotiated settlements in a good 90% of them. I would love to take this case to trial. Unless Mr. Lollie has a lengthy criminal history, this case has tons of “jury appeal”.

                      Cites to a few of the cases that I’ve relied upon in the past follow:

                      A perceived threat to the officer after he had already unlawfully seized the plaintiff who was trying to walk away could not be used to justify the initial seizure. Jacobs v. Village of Ottawa Hills, 159 F. Supp. 2d 693 (N.D. Ohio 2001).

                      Officers did not have probable cause to arrest female officer for “obstruction” of their investigation of her boyfriend’s apparent suicide when she did not physically interfere with them but merely refused to give them her date of birth. Summary judgment in false arrest lawsuit was still proper, however, since defendant officers did have probable cause to arrest her on another, closely-related offense. Williams v. Jaglowski, No. 00-2600, 269 F.3d 778 (7th Cir. 2001)

                      Norwell found that a defendant’s objection to a detention he believed questionable without abusive language or fighting words, is not punishable as disorderly conduct. Norwell v. City of Cincinnati, 414 U.S. 14, 94 S.Ct. 187, 38 L.Ed.2d 170 (1973)

                      Making an arrest that was based entirely on an arrestee’s speech opposing or questioning police actions violates the First Amendment. Lowe v. Spears, 07-1497 (4th Cir. 2007)

                      Married couple who triggered alarm when they entered lit, apparently open convenience store were properly awarded damages for false arrest and assault based on deputies treatment of them after arriving on the scene and finding no evidence of crime; deputy used excessive force against wife by spraying her twice in the face with “OC” spray at close range; appeals court reduces damages awarded as excessive. Park v. Shiflett, No. 00-1809, 250 F.3d 843 (4th Cir. 2001)

                      Federal trial court rules that motorist’s gesture of displaying his middle finger to an officer driving by was protected First Amendment speech; officer was not entitled to qualified immunity and could be held liable for arresting motorist for disorderly conduct. Nichols v. Chacon, 110 F. Supp. 2d 1099 (W.D. Ark. 2000).

                      Plaintiff was entitled to the full $40,000 in damages found by jury in false arrest case, despite jury finding that he was 60% at fault for the damages for failure to identify himself; court rules that, since jury also found that police had no basis to arrest plaintiff at all, his failure to identify himself could not be used to reduce the city’s liability. Scott v. City of New York, 699 N.Y.S.2d 642 (N.Y. City Civ. Ct. 1999).

              • StanH September 1, 2014 at 10:24 am #

                So true.

                • Mark September 1, 2014 at 9:37 pm #

                  Stan, sorry if this is a duplicate response. I typed out a response and appear to have deleted but can’t be sure I didn’t post it. Anyway, thanks for the response. I’ll always admit when I’m wrong, and I appear to be wrong on some issues. But I think some points are arguable (if I couldn’t argue anything, what kind of attorney would I be?). I think you’re mistaken on a number of fact issues, which might be because you’re out of state, aren’t familiar with the location and may not be seeing the same news stories we are. First, the media has reported that Lollie and the guard were in the seating area when police arrived and at that point they all moved into the skyway. That may be hard for you to picture if you’re not familiar with our skyways. But that indicates the police can arrest him right there, the misdemeanor is occurring in front of them. They could have arrested him there but I think they didn’t want to do that and just wanted to talk to him. And even he wasn’t at the location when police arrived, a private person,the guard, can arrest him and delegate that authority to the police, correct? Does the police presence at the scene negate the need for the investigatory detention? Even if it doesn’t, you say he hasn’t been told he is being detained. I don’t agree. The test for whether a person knows they’re being detained is if a reasonable person would know they are not free to leave. We don’t know what was said before the video started, but at least once during the video the officer tells him she wants to know who he is and what happened back there and then he is free to be on his way. That seems to meet the test. Despite that he continues to walk and makes it clear that he is not going to stop. Lollie has said in interviews he tried to talk to the police, but they just wanted to to escalate the situation because he is black. There’s no evidence in the video that he is trying to talk to police. Also, I don’t think any civil rights claims against the building are relevant to the police actions here, that’s a separate case against the building owners. You should also know that this is an area where the guards frequently kick out people who have come up from street level when there is inclement weather, so I’m sure police have been called before and are familiar with the fact that this is a private lounge. It leads you to wonder why the building doesn’t do more to mark the area, and there’s also the civil rights issue of the building applying the rule in a racist manner, but that’ irrelevant to the police action. Also, even though he said in the video that those are his kids, his kids were not there. Their mother had picked them up earlier. I agree he’ll get a settlement, but I don’t think this is as open and shut as you claim.

                  • StanH September 1, 2014 at 10:32 pm #

                    Mark: Have you seen this? https://www.facebook.com/161905830198/photos/a.165363315198.157496.161905830198/165363885198/?type=1&permPage=1
                    That would be MY “Exhibit 1”. You’re right some points do appear arguable. I do agree with you in that a good attorney can even make a “slam dunk” seem not quite so clear, but I’d REALLY like my odds with this case (and I’d probably bring in the security company under negligent training and supervision).

                    I couldn’t recall where I’d read that Lollie had left the chairs before the police arrived, but I pulled up the police report which seems to corroborate it. http://www.mprnews.org/story/2014/08/28/st-paul-arrest-video-response
                    It also appears from the report (which may or not be material) that Lollie and the responding officer had walked quite some way (apparently into another building) before the other officers arrived and the actual arrest was effectuated. The report indicates that Lollie said that he was meeting the children who would be arriving with their mother. It’s not clear, but it may be that she had accompanied the children on a class field trip.

                    I actually don’t know if the security guard could legally arrest him in Minnesota. In Florida, civilians can’t make a “citizen’s arrest” for a misdemeanor unless it involves a breach of the peace. Good conversing with you. AFKB until tomorrow.

                    • Mark September 2, 2014 at 5:07 am #

                      Stan, the report says the officer entered the area from the 5th Street skyway and then the suspect walked toward her. I know that area well. If you walk into it from that skyway you’re pretty much in the lounge area. It’s not that large of an area so it’s going to be tough to argue that she didn’t see him in the lounge. Whether she saw him sitting or not isn’t in the report, but it appears that he was there, whether sitting, standing or walking. Also, Minnesota law allows a private citizen to make an arrest for any offense committed in their presence that is punishable by a fine or imprisonment. This is by no means a slam dunk. The city will probably settle based on litigation costs and an unknown outcome, but just because he’ll get something doesn’t mean he would win at trial.

                    • Mark September 2, 2014 at 5:08 am #

                      Also, forgot to mention I couldn’t see what was on the FB link you sent – content isn’t available.

                    • StanH September 2, 2014 at 11:30 am #

                      Mark: Agreed that it’s not a “slam dunk” (positing a very good defense attorney), but I’d still really like my odds at trial. Disappointed that you can’t pull up the link (here it is again) https://www.facebook.com/161905830198/photos/a.165363315198.157496.161905830198/165363885198/?type=1&permPage=1

                      What it links to is an (apparently former) 1st National Bank building Facebook page depicting the area in question, with the caption “Need a quick five? Enjoy a seat on the skyway.” That would be my exhibit ‘A’ , (and I’d leave it up during trial as long as the judge would let me). LOL. With that and the video (including the tasing), I’d evaluate the case as a high 5-figure trial potential.

                    • Mark September 2, 2014 at 7:20 pm #

                      Thanks Stan. I’ve seen the FB page in the past. I don’t think it’s dispositive of the private area issue — it’s a 2009 post on a page that seems to be targeting tenants. All the other posts on that page are things like notices about fire drills, tenant parties, etc. I don’t imagine their intent is to invite the public to their tenant parties either. Their web page states the lounge is for tenants and guests. I walk by there 3 – 5 times a week and would never think that that’s an area for the public.

                      It’s been good having a civil discussion on this site with you about the actual legal issues, instead of some of the rhetoric and insults in the other posts. I think where you and I disagree is on the investigatory stop. I agree, he didn’t have to answer questions and incriminate himself, but under the law he did have to stay long enough for them to determine if they were going to arrest him or not. He was put on notice that he was not free to leave and at no time did he comply with that. He immediately took off and the officer had to call for back-up. Trespassing misdemeanor aside, ignoring the detention is really what got him arrested. It was a legal detention and arrest. After reading the police report, I’m even more convinced of that.

                    • StanH September 3, 2014 at 1:44 am #

                      Mark: Agreed that it’s nice to have a civil, informative discussion. Coming from my criminal defense/plaintiff tort perspective, I feel that they 1) it’s questionable that they had reasonable suspicion to detain Mr. Lollie 2) that they never actually detained him, but went straight to arrest, because he refused to give his ID. I’d wager that they never said the “magic words”, “I’m detaining you”, or that you’re not free to leave (as a matter of fact, she walked with him for several blocks) and if they never ordered him to stop before arresting him, they needed probable cause as opposed to founded suspicion.

                      As to the Facebook page, a defense attorney would almost certainly argue that (as you have) the FB page was for tenants. Conversely, a plaintiff’s attorney would argue that the page was advertisement for the building disseminated to the general public via the World Wide Web. He’d be supported in that argument by the following posts from the page, one dated April 15, 2012:”Looking for a great office space? Better look here 1st.” Or this one, from September 25, 2009: “In the downtown area? Come try the new Real Meal Deli for lunch. Sandwiches, soups, salads, and more all located on the skyway level at FNBB.” I STILL think that the FB page would be my star witness. As a matter of fact, if you look at the FB page with the picture of the lounge, you’ll see that the comments are overwhelmingly in favor of Mr. Lollie. Those people are the potential jury pool. While we disagree as to how much of a “slam dunk” this case would be, I think that if a good plaintiff’s attorney gets to a jury on this one, the City (and the security company) could take a BIG hit.

          • Mark August 31, 2014 at 12:36 pm #

            Adam, what he was eventually charged with and the penalty for trespassing is kind of red herring here. And I don’t think he was cuffed for trespassing, he was cuffed for obstructing. You have to look at the sequence of issues here, not just the eventual conclusion that the guy was only trespassing. The police were called. The only information they have is there is someone who refuses to leave private property. If that’s the only information they have and they see him, they’re going to detain him and question him — from their perspective hopefully they’re just going to warn him that he can’t be there in the future, but they don’t know if this is just about trespassing or if there’s something else going on. Refusing to obey a property owner telling you you can’t be on their property raises a lot of potential questions about him. I’m very confused as to what constitutional right you think he was exercising by ignoring a legal detention. Try personalizing this situation. What if someone walks in from the alley to your yard and makes himself comfortable on your lawn furniture. You go out and tell him it’s your yard and he should leave. He tells you he doesn’t have to, he believes it’s public property, and you call the police. When the police come he has moved back into the alley and the cops tell you, “we’re not doing anything, he’s in the alley.” Are you comfortable with that? No, you want them to explain to him that your yard is private property and he needs to stay out. And if they do try to talk to him and he is noncooperative and tells the cops he has every right to be in your yard, do you expect them to try to talk to him about the fact that your yard is private property and he can’t go back there? The poor policewoman in that video was practically begging the guy to just talk to them and be done with it.

            • StanH September 1, 2014 at 10:45 am #

              Mark, I think that the FB page pretty much settles the issue (to anyone objective). On top of that, there are two Constitutional Amendments at issue here. The 4th (no unreasonable search and seizure), and the 5th (the right against self-incrimination). As a general rule, citizens have NO duty, and can’t be forced (even under penalty of arrest) to talk to police. I foresee several “zeroes” in Mr. Lollie’s settlement with the City.

              • Joe September 2, 2014 at 12:38 pm #

                I listened to the whole thing with headphones today.

                If I were arguing for the cops, I’d point out that the female officer at the start says: “Talk to me. Let me know who you are, and you can be on your way.” (Sounds like a request to stop). He clearly didn’t stop, but she was actually nice about it. Couldn’t she have ordered him to stop right there?

                This guy sure wasn’t exercising his 5th amendment right. He clearly admits to the officer he was in the disputably private space, “I was sittin’ there for 10 minutes. Fully, like not before he walked up to me or anything. He walked up to me a minute after, and got irate with me!” It’s clear Lollie knows that there was reason for the police to show up. He feels it’s unfair they showed up, that they were called.

                By the way, she says multiple times at the start, “thank you for…” but he just keeps on ranting. She tries to ask about the “problem,” but he cuts her off several times when she tries to speak. There’s nothing in the constitution that says you have to let police finish their sentences, but if you don’t, I can see how that could be obstruction of a criminal investigation.

                Also, it’s clear to me that the escalation didn’t start by the police. The female officer was very polite. The security guard may have been a total ass, though, and that “irate” incident is where Lollie’s adrenaline got piqued IMO.

                Nobody mentioned that he was carrying marijuana. You can hear him admit to it, and them find it at the end. There was no charge for possession of marijuana. I guess they’re pretty relaxed about that in St. Paul?

                He uses a lot of slurs against them at the end, taunting them even. All of what happens to him is because he’s black. Doesn’t seem like any other explanation fits in his reality. I feel sorry that so many people have this view of the world. He takes zero responsibility for his part of escalating things.

                By the way, compare this incident with http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/26/charles-belk-beverly-hills-police_n_5716897.html

                Equally disturbing what happens when police do an investigation, but since this guy cooperated he wasn’t tazed. Maybe he’ll sue though?

                • Adam Miller
                  Adam Miller September 2, 2014 at 1:28 pm #

                  “Talk to me” is not “stop.” I would think that would not need to be pointed out.

                  If she was attempting to detain him (aka a “Terry Stop”), you would think they would have asked him to stop. It is actually one of the more damning things about this video that she does not seem to do so (of course, we don’t know what happened before the video started, but regardless, the video is long enough that you would have expected her to repeat that request had she made it).

                  And no, not letting an officer finish a sentence is not a criminal offense.

            • Adam Miller
              Adam Miller September 2, 2014 at 10:44 am #

              There are several things I don’t agree with here or I think need qualification in this context.

              If he was in someone’s private residence or a clearly private business property, there’s something to investigate. But he was in a skyway, which is inherently quasi-public, which the police know. It should hardly come as surprise to them if someone is confused about which parts of the skyway are actually public and which are technically private. Given that likelihood for confusion, I don’t think the context gives rise to any meaningful need for investigation. They have no reasonable reason to think that he’s actually in that space to commit some other type of crime. The reason more investigation is warranted for the person on your hypothetical lawn furniture is the potential for additional wrongdoing (i.e., being there is inherently suspicious). Not so for using a skyway.

              But I absolutely agree that he was likely cuffed for “obstructing.” The problem I have with that is that the “obstructing” that seems to be alleged against him is a failure to identify himself. When the male cop told him, “you’re going to jail,” the only request with which he had not complied was to identify himself. It cannot be that he both has a constitutional right not to identify himself (or speak to the police in general) and that exercising that right is a separate criminal offense for which he can be arrested.

              He got cuffed because they cops didn’t like his attitude. That should be troubling.

              • StanH September 2, 2014 at 11:42 am #

                Well said.

              • Mark September 2, 2014 at 8:12 pm #

                Adam, my understanding is that the skyways are on private property but the public has an easement to travel through the skyways. The easement doesn’t extend to using the rest of the owner’s property for any purpose other than what the owners designate. I walk by this area 3 – 5 times a week. It’s not in a hallway with shops or any other businesses open to the public, it’s an area off to the side of the hallway like a reception area with a guard desk. There is a barber shop and deli around the corner in a the next hallway, but it’s a separate area. I don’t understand why the building doesn’t protect itself from misunderstandings by posting that, but I guess they feel having a guard there is sufficient. At any rate, the guard told him he had to leave a couple of times if he didn’t have business with a tenant. Refusing to leave under those circumstances is a misdemeanor in Minnesota.

                We don’t know what was said before the video went on but we do hear the cop clearly telling him on the video that after she finds out what happened he can be on his way. That meets the standard of being put on notice that he is not free to leave. He ignored that and she had to call back up. He was correct that he had a right against self incrimination, but the law allows them to hold him briefly until they determine whether they will arrest him or let him go. Refusing to be held is where he got himself arrested.

                What I do find troubling is that I probably could sit in those seats as the white professional that I am and not be asked to leave, but someone who looks like he does is asked to leave. I don’t know that for sure, because I’ve never tried. But if that’s the case, he should file a claim against the building. He really mucked up the incident with the police by misunderstanding his rights. I still think he’ll get a settlement. Litigation is costly and the results are never guaranteed.

  15. Progressive Pride August 30, 2014 at 3:03 pm #

    That’s a hard video clip to stomach, but not really surprising. From Staten Island NY to Ferguson MO to St. Paul MN, this is who we’ve become as a nation. That fact is even more sickening than the ‘singular’ incident involving Mr. Lollie.

    The self-serving statement from the police department, and the fact that all charges against Lollie were dismissed, speaks volumes about what really went on here, and the video clearly illustrates the inherent racism embedded in the SPPD.

    The only thing more disgusting than the behavior of the ‘peace officers’ (and I use the term loosely,) is the people of St. Paul MN who appear perfectly content with letting their racist police service reflect who they are as a community.

  16. Doug Trumm
    Doug T August 31, 2014 at 10:39 pm #

    I think there is an big difference between what the police can technically do (thanks to very broadly interpreted laws giving them enormous latitude to harass citizens) and what they should do and what actually furthers their mission. Pinning a pretty flimsy trespassing charge on this man seems like a dubious mission in the first place and one that was carried out with shocking clumsiness.

    • Adam Miller
      Adam Miller September 2, 2014 at 10:48 am #

      Absolutely. There are a lot of protections in place for individual police officers caring out their duties, starting with their union, the bureaucracy and the wide deference give to them by the courts. In general, those things are as they should be because we ask the police to put themselves in harms way for community benefits.

      But that doesn’t mean that we can’t ask for more from officers or as a community advocate for the kinds of policing we want. Regardless of whether everything that was done here was legal, I don’t see how this was good, effective policing.

  17. Cops suck September 4, 2014 at 11:27 pm #

    I don’t completely agree with the way the guy acted, but then the cops were out of control and need to be fired.

    Is it any wonder that hardly anyone likes cops? What part of protect and serve is this?

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