Charges Dropped Against St. Paul Man Who Was Charged With Sitting While Black

This St. Paul man was arrested for sitting while black, caught in a Kafkaesque nightmare.

UPDATE: Okay, my bad. I missed the part where the security guard allegedly asked him to move. But we still only have the guard's version of events -- namely, that Lollie was told to leave several times and unreasonably refused to move. It's still crazy that this security guard couldn't resolve this without calling the cops. H/t Peanutcat for catching the discrepancy.

Another important fact: The skyway in St. Paul is publicly owned.

Here's the thing, right? If that was a white man (or woman) sitting there, someone would have approached them and said, "Excuse me, sir, you can't sit there. That's for employees only." And then they would have directed them to a place where they were allowed to sit. But because he was black, the security guard simply assumed he was too dangerous to have a simple conversation with. So he called the cops, and it all went downhill from there. Is this that "Minnesota nice" people keep telling me about?

What the hell is wrong with people?

Christopher Lollie, 28, said he was waiting to pick up his two year-old and four year-old children from New Horizon Academy’s daycare around 9:43 a.m. on Jan. 31, when a security guard from the First National Bank building asked him to leave the area where he was sitting. The guard then called the St. Paul Police Department when Lollie refused to do so, he said.

According to the police report, St. Paul police officers Michael Johnson and Bruce Schmidt “were called to the First National Bank Building on a report of uncooperative male refusing to leave.” The third female officer in the video has been identified as Lori Hayne, and has since retired, reports the Pioneer Press. The name of the security guard that Lollie claims made the call was omitted from the police report “due to safety concerns.” Lollie was charged with trespassing, disorderly conduct and obstructing the legal process.

The St. Paul Police Department did not return our calls in time for this report, but released this statement:

"As is often the case, the video does not show the totality of the circumstances.Our officers were called by private security guards on a man who was trespassing in a private area. The guards reported that the man had on repeated occasions refused to leave a private "employees only" area in the First National Bank Building.


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With no information on who the man was, what he might be doing or why he refused to leave the area, responding Saint Paul police officers tried to talk to him, asking him who he was. He refused to tell them or cooperate.

Our officers are called upon and required to respond to calls for assistance and to investigate the calls. At one point, the officers believed he might either run or fight with them. It was then that officers took steps to take him into custody. He pulled away and resisted officers' lawful orders. They then used the force necessary to safely take him into custody.The man was charged with trespassing, disorderly conduct and obstruction of the legal process. Those charges were dismissed in July."

“Why do I have to let you know who I am?” Lollie asks officer Hayne in the video. “I don’t have to let you know who I am if I haven’t broken any laws.

”Soon, two more officers show up and restrain Lollie as he continues to explain he’s done nothing wrong. The following struggle results in Lollie being tasered and arrested.

Minnesota does not currently have a 'stop and identify' statute in place that would give police the right to arrest someone for not identifying himself.

By the time the police arrived, Lollie said he had already left the spot to go meet his kids by the daycare and expected the officers to disregard the call, since he believed the areas to be public. “[What did happen] was the complete opposite of what I expected to happen,” Lollie said.

Even if he wanted to, he couldn’t provide identification, he said, since his wallet was stolen along with his I.D. earlier that month.

Lollie said that at the time of the incident he was working a temp job cleaning at Cossetta’s, just down the road from New Horizon. He and his girlfriend were separated then, he said, so she would drop their children off at the daycare in the morning and he’d pick them up when he got off of work.

His children had been attending New Horizon for about 9 months at that time, he said, so many people at the school already knew who he was. Luckily, he said, his children weren’t there to witness the incident since the children’s mother still hadn’t arrived. But Lollie’s children’s classmates and teacher all witnessed the event, he said.

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