Christopher Lollie says that he was sitting in a public area and waiting to pick up his kids from the New Horizon Academy pre-school in St. Paul, Minn., when he was tased and arrested on Jan. 31.
According to the Twin Cities Daily Planet, a security guard from a nearby bank building asked Lollie to leave an area of a public skyway where he was sitting. The guard claimed it was a lounge for employees only.
Lollie refused to do so because there were not any signs saying it was private. The security guard then called the St. Paul Police Department.
A video (below) shot on Lollie's cell phone shows a female St. Paul police officer say to the dad, “I want to know who you are and what the problem was back there."
“Why do I have to let you know who I am?” Lollie asks the female officer. “I don’t have to let you know who I am if I haven’t broken any laws.”
Lollie told the cop that he was sitting in a public area for ten minutes, waiting to pick up his children.
The female officer keeps asking what the "problem" is and Lollie responds, “The problem is I’m black. It really is, because I’m not sitting there with a group of people. I’m sitting there by myself, not causing a problem.”
Later in the video, a male officer approaches and Lollie states, "I’ve got to go get my kids. Please don’t touch me.”
“You’re going to go to jail then,” the male officer states.
“Come on, brother,” replies Lollie. “This is assault.”
“I’m not your brother," the male officer snaps back. "Put your hands behind your back, otherwise it’s going to get ugly.”
Lollie drops the phone as he is handcuffed and tased, which is heard off-camera. At some point a third officer, male, joins the scene.
The police never tell Lollie what he was charged for in the video, but he was later charged with trespassing, disorderly conduct and obstructing the legal process.
However, the charges were suddenly dropped on July 31 after the building’s security cameras and a teacher's statement backed up Lollie.
“The teacher actually gave me a witness statement, stating that ‘He was calm, he wasn’t doing anything wrong, he was talking to them, and they just started assaulting him,’” Lollie told the Twin Cities Daily Planet.
Lollie was not able to post the video until his cell phone was returned, but added the video brought back bad memories.
“It hurts, it really does,” said Lollie. “Because no matter what, I could be the nicest guy in the world, talk with respect, I can be working, taking care of my kids, doing everything a model citizen is supposed to do, and still I get that type of treatment.”
According to the St. Paul police report, there were two male officers involved, Michael Johnson and Bruce Schmidt, and the female officer was identified as Lori Hayne, noted the Pioneer Press.
The St. Paul Police Department recently released a statement that said in part:
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.
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.
However, Lollie clearly says on the video multiple times that he is there to pick up his children from school, which he had done many times before.
The St. Paul police add:
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 St. Paul police didn't explain why they dropped the charges against Lollie.
For his part, Lollie is pursuing all of his legal options.
"I'm not going to stop," Lollie told the Pioneer Press. "They wanted me to lay down to begin with, but that's not the type of person I am."