Meeting Reviews Surveillance Footage of St. Paul Skyway Arrest

Updated: 09/02/2014 7:15 AM
Created: 09/01/2014 6:00 PM
By: Beth McDonough

Members of three organizations met with the St. Paul Police Department on Monday to review footage from surveillance cameras inside a skyway when 28-year-old Chris Lollie was Tasered and arrested. The meeting included the NAACP, the African American Leadership Council and the St. Paul Black Ministerial Alliance.

Citing state data privacy laws protecting active investigations, the meeting was closed to the media and the public.

Sources tell 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS community leaders looked at footage from security cameras inside the First National Bank Building when Lollie claims his civil rights were violated.  

Lollie also recorded the incident on his cell phone, which went viral on YouTube days ago. 

Lollie says he was racially profiled and the victim of unlawful search and seizure. The incident happened after a security guard called police to report a trespasser. When officers asked his name, Lollie can be heard refusing to give it.  The conversation escalated, and Lollie was zapped with a taser and arrested. Charges were later dropped.

Lollie says he's filed a complaint against the three arresting officers and plans to take it a step further and sue in federal court.

The St. Paul Police Federation defends the officers’ actions, insisting the video doesn't show the whole incident. 

Mayor Chris Coleman called for an investigation by the Civilian Internal Affairs Review Commission.

"I hope we can have a candid conversation about this particular incident, but, more importantly, I hope that we can build upon the long-standing relationships that exist and map out further work that we can do to continue to build trust between our community and the police," Coleman said.

The commission is made up of five citizens and two members of the police union.  They look at excessive force, discrimination and improper conduct complaints, and those complaints are first reviewed by the department’s internal affairs unit.  The results are then forwarded to the Civilian Commission for review.  The panel recommends any corrective or disciplinary action to Police Chief Tom Smith, who has the final word.

Chris Lollie didn't attend Monday's meeting.  KSTP-TV reached out to both Lollie and his attorney, Andrew Irlbeck.

Last year, the Civilian Commission reviewed 52 cases. In three previous years, it reviewed nearly twice as many, about 100 a year.  Anywhere from 20 to 40 percent of the cases alleged excessive force. It's unclear how many of those accusations were substantiated.

Photo: KSTP-TV