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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Man Tased, Arrested for Crime of Being Black in St. Paul, Minnesota

Posted by on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 11:31 AM

A man was sitting in a public place waiting to pick his kids up from school. He wasn't breaking any laws. A shop owner asked him to move—which the shop owner had no right to do—and the man got up and moved. He was then stopped by a cop who asked him his name. He refused to give his name. "I know my rights," the man said to the cop. And he did know his rights: he was under no obligation to identify himself to her. "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," RawStory points out. The cop, unfortunately, didn't know his rights. When the cop tells the man that she's asking his name in an effort to figure out what the problem was—why the shopkeeper asked him to move—the man responds: "The problem is I'm black."

Another cop shows up:

"I've got to go get my kids," the man says to both officers. The male officer attempts to grab the man's arm. The man pulls away. "Please don't touch me," he says.

"You're going to go to jail, then."

"I'm not doing anything wrong," the man replies.

Both officers grab the man.

"Come on, brother," the man says. "This is assault."

"I'm not your brother," the male officer replies. "Put your hands behind your back; otherwise it's going to get ugly."

A struggle ensues, the man drops his cellphone and the video is lost. The audio continues to record, and what can be heard is disturbing. The man yells, "I haven't done anything wrong! Can somebody help me?! That's my kids, right there! My kids are right there!" ... Noises from the Taser being charged can be heard, and then the man screams.

Says Stephen A. Crockett Jr. at The Root: "It isn't the footage so much as the screams."

If the cops in your community aren't equipped with badge cams—or if they refuse to wear cameras, or if there's a chance they could disable them—then it's a good idea for citizens, particularly black citizens, to carry their own video cameras wherever they go.

Both these cops are going to get fired, right? And there will be a big demonstration outside that shop, right?

UPDATE: It's also a good idea for young gay people with homophobic family members to keep a camera handy.


Comments (45) RSS

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Helix 1
I foresee either nothing or paid vacations coming up for these pieces of shit. Ugh.
Posted by Helix on August 28, 2014 at 11:34 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 2
Just sit on your hands when it comes time to vote. Let the racists take over the senate, too.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on August 28, 2014 at 11:36 AM · Report this
dnt trust me 3
I'm an old white man, yet with thoughts of injustices done toward minorities and gay people. Is it ok if I keep a camera handy?
Posted by dnt trust me on August 28, 2014 at 11:46 AM · Report this
fletc3her 5
I hope they can prosecute the cops. If they are going to act like criminals they should be prosecuted like criminals.
Posted by fletc3her on August 28, 2014 at 11:48 AM · Report this
TomJohnsonJr 6
Here in Seattle, the Council gave Bruce Harrell's bodycams-on-all-cops proposal (you remember, the one Stranger writers belittled every chance they got during his re-election bid) just a one-year limited trial.

Isn't there enough of an emergency in public confidence that they should revisit and expand it right away?
Posted by TomJohnsonJr on August 28, 2014 at 11:51 AM · Report this
Gurldoggie 7
This is shameful. I feel terrible for that man and his kids. No joke, this is what the internet is for. This video should be seen by everyone and those idiot cops ("I'm not your brother" indeed) should be fired and followed by this video everywhere they go.
Posted by Gurldoggie on August 28, 2014 at 12:12 PM · Report this
rob! 8
@6, NPR recently discussed some bodycam issues I wasn't aware of, including this:
…Finally, there's the matter of the 30-second buffer. When an officer presses record, the camera saves the 30 seconds of images that led up to that moment, but not the audio. The manufacturer designed the buffer to protect the privacy of police officers — and to appeal to resistant police unions — but it also means the cameras may miss crucial noises or words that trigger an incident…
Responsible police officials, and citizens, need to be the ones driving the desired features and configuration of these systems, not marketers shooting for the lowest common denominator.
Posted by rob! on August 28, 2014 at 12:15 PM · Report this
rob! 9
Also, I'm very far from the bleeding edge both technologically and in terms of likely police confrontations so maybe this already exists, but it would seem useful to have a cellphone app or a cell-enabled camera that immediately streams video to a secure server so that someone who chooses to film a LEO interaction doesn't risk losing it through confiscation, erasure of the device, or damage during a takedown.
Posted by rob! on August 28, 2014 at 12:22 PM · Report this
coolio 10
there are a few aps on the market that upload video and audio directly to a an ACLU server incase the police confiscate or destroy your phone. People should be aware of these.…

Posted by coolio on August 28, 2014 at 12:32 PM · Report this
Good luck. They've been "investigating" that incident for 8 months.
Posted by madcap on August 28, 2014 at 12:34 PM · Report this
seatackled 12
Have they found a report of a mugging, car theft, or littering by a possible black man from that same week yet?
Posted by seatackled on August 28, 2014 at 12:36 PM · Report this
kk in seattle 13
Dog bites man. Welcome to America.
Posted by kk in seattle on August 28, 2014 at 12:39 PM · Report this
He should sue the everloving fuck out of the city and the police department.
Posted by NotYourStrawMan on August 28, 2014 at 12:43 PM · Report this
rob! 15
@10, thanks. Following links, though, it sounds like the streaming only works for New Jersey. Maybe the ACLU could roll out a nationwide version?

In other Crime of Being Black news, Hollywood producer Charles Belk was arrested and held for six hours for "fitting the description" (tall, bald-headed, black male) of an armed-robbery suspect:…
Posted by rob! on August 28, 2014 at 1:00 PM · Report this
Has the man who was tased filed a complaint? Was he arrested? We could use some basic facts here.
Posted by Charlie Mas on August 28, 2014 at 1:04 PM · Report this
Body cams will mostly only benefit the public servants who wear them unless we have strong policies in place to ensure recordings are reliably created, retained, and made available to the public.

Look at SPD and their in-car video systems. They regularly lied about the system until Eric Rachner dug up technical documentation disproving their claims. They had a policy of withholding video from the public until the statutes of limitation on civil and criminal litigation ran out---three years---while at the same time having a retention policy that dictated deletion after three years. It took KIRO News' lawsuit to fix that. They lost many thousands of videos because they are so incompetent technologically as to have only one copy of videos. There is zero repercussion for staff who neglect to ensure that they take a squad car back in for service if its video system is not working.

If we put body cameras on them, police will find ways to abuse people without those cameras recording it unless we try very, very, hard to prevent the most determined of them and the most oblivious of them from twisting the system to their pleasing. We need to quit kissing cops' asses and giving them the benefit of every doubt. While they are sometimes very helpful, they are always very dangerous. Their extraordinary ability and authority to harm people and to suspend people's rights and liberties calls for an extraordinary level of scrutiny of their work.
Posted by Phil M on August 28, 2014 at 1:13 PM · Report this
there is only one response:

these officers need to go to jail. end of story.

If they weren't trained properly, the higher ups need to be in jail too.

when is enough enough? are we going to keep on this road of trampled rights and civil lawsuits until police are being lynched? Is that the end game?
Posted by fetish on August 28, 2014 at 1:25 PM · Report this
DOUG. 20
And how long until a black man gets shot as he reaches for his cellphone to start recording an interaction with cops?
Posted by DOUG. on August 28, 2014 at 1:25 PM · Report this
Fnarf 21
They'll start wearing wide ties that cover the lenses. Whoops! Sorry about that!

Another way we could prevent this kind of thing from happening is to prosecute it when it occurs. If this cop was not only fired but spent eleven years in prison and fined several million dollars, the other meatheads on the force might alter their behavior.

The store owner who initially requested that the black man move from his public seat needs to get some heat too.
Posted by Fnarf on August 28, 2014 at 1:36 PM · Report this
The Accidental Theologist 22
I reposted this on Facebook, and this was one of the comments:
"Police forces should be required to watch this video, and to write an essay on it -- how the police complied with the law; how they broke the law, how the arrested man's rights were violated -- and those essays should be published for public reading. How else will we shock our police departments and public officials into starting brand new police departments into which every officer will have to reapply, and which will demand clear transparency on the part of every police officer."
How about it, Mr Mayor?
Posted by The Accidental Theologist on August 28, 2014 at 1:45 PM · Report this
Corylea 23
This is shameful. The thugs with badges need to go to jail, and the innocent man needs to sue the city.
Posted by Corylea on August 28, 2014 at 1:54 PM · Report this
So that guy doesn't like being based, huh? Maybe he should have thought of that before he decided to be black!
Posted by Ken Mehlman on August 28, 2014 at 2:00 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 25
there's just so many rights now that cops can't be expected to keep track of them all.
Posted by Max Solomon on August 28, 2014 at 2:15 PM · Report this
Do we really know this was a race thing, not like cops don't rase white people for no reason, remember don't tase me bro? These cops were assholes for sure, and should be fired, but can racist be proven?
Posted by Seattle14 on August 28, 2014 at 2:24 PM · Report this
That's not to say we don't have racism anymore, of course we do and its still a problem, but unlike Ferguson where we don't see white kids shot, we do see white kids tased.
Posted by Seattle14 on August 28, 2014 at 2:30 PM · Report this
3:56: "Racist motherfuckers. All y'all." Ha!

4:10: "Stop grabbing my neck. Are you gay?!" Sigh.

Anyway, not that I think there's anything wrong with it, but it won't help that he had weed in his pocket. I love his response when the female cop says that she just wanted to have a conversation with him; he answered that he didn't have to stop and have a conversation with her, that she doesn't "own" him. Good for him.
Posted by jade on August 28, 2014 at 2:44 PM · Report this
Ophian 29
Where are all those folks that so venerate the 2nd Amendment? Surely the 4th is just as important. Why aren't they rallying to defend our sacred American rights?

And I hope the ACLU is all over this. Only by holding law enforcement accountable will anything change.
Posted by Ophian on August 28, 2014 at 3:12 PM · Report this
I hadn't yet watched the video when I posted my comment about body cams @18. Now, I have.

This is infuriating. You can be as polite and as lawful as can be, and if you're insufficiently willing to surrender your rights and lick some fucking boots, certain cops will escalate the situation until you are in jail. I've lived it. It is, without a doubt, sufficient to chill the speech of a person of ordinary firmness from expressing himself or herself in the face of lawlessness of public staff.
Posted by Phil M on August 28, 2014 at 3:40 PM · Report this
@30: Indeed. And a major problem in policing throughout the United States is the steadfast refusal of officers and departments to recognize that you do not have to do what they tell you to.

See, for example a WaPo op-ed published 8/19 by a motherfucking "professor of homeland security at Colorado Tech University" and 17 year LAPD veteran titled "I’m a cop. If you don’t want to get hurt, don’t challenge me."

Until every officer is trained from day one that this line of thinking is utter horseshit we will continue to face this problem.

stupid op-ed
Posted by gnossos on August 28, 2014 at 4:06 PM · Report this
Queer kid's family sounds like mine. Jeebus' lovers are so lovin', huh? Full of love and compassion as Jeebus says we should be. Yeah, Jeebus loves me cuz he makes mamma despise me so. Oh yeah, racism as a bonus.
Posted by kwodell on August 28, 2014 at 4:27 PM · Report this
FWIW, there are more details on the Minnesota incident here:…
Posted by madcap on August 28, 2014 at 7:10 PM · Report this
I'm thinking men of color of a reasonable age should just print out a free business card that can pass for an American Bar Association membership card, to present as ID in this sort of situation.
Posted by randonscreenname on August 28, 2014 at 7:25 PM · Report this
Thanks for using your blog to post this. It's sickening and shocking. And it happens every day and I hear little about it . So thanks for broadcasting it.
Posted by Kathy23 on August 28, 2014 at 7:42 PM · Report this
It never fails. The words "Well, _I_ believe in the word of God," is invariably followed by the worst sort of vile, small-minded, wrongheaded, bigoted, violent assholery.

Jesus would not recognize you as his own, you evil fucks.
Posted by avast2006 on August 28, 2014 at 9:39 PM · Report this
YEah... body cams aren't exactly a cure-all either.…
In New Orleans, Armand Bennet, 26, was shot in the forehead during a traffic stop by New Orleans police officer Lisa Lewis. However, the police department did not reveal until much later that Lewis turned off her body camera just before shooting Bennett. Bennett survived and has now been charged under prior warrants for his arrest. It also reviewed that Lewis had had a prior run in with Bennet who escaped about a week earlier.…
It was soon discovered that Dear’s body camera had not captured the incident. Technicians were unable to retrieve any footage of the shooting. Cameras worn on other officers contained footage of the wake of the incident.

Taser International Inc., the company that makes the cameras, stated in its report of Dear’s camera that it had turned off and on several times on the evening of April 20th through the early hours of April 21st: “Before the incident, the camera was powered on around 11:15 p.m. on April 20, then went off around 11:30 p.m., recording once. It was turned on again shortly after midnight, and went off again around 4 a.m., recording three times. It was turned on again around 4:15 a.m. and turned off a minute later without recording anything.”

The report also stated that Dear’s camera had a damaged cable but the camera itself was completely functional. It was missing a clip that helps prevent the camera from disconnecting from the battery.

The April shooting was not the first time that Dear’s body camera failed to capture an incident.

In January 2013, Dear had responded to a brawl occurring in town and had struck “(a 22-year-old suspect) several times in his facial area with a closed fist,” according to his description of the event. His camera was not on at the time, and his partner’s camera had captured the beginning of the fight and its aftermath.

In February 2013, a man was pulled over by Dear for speeding. The man later filed a complaint accusing Dear of using excessive force. The man alleged that Dear had pulled him out of his vehicle and kicked him in the genitals. Dear denied the accusations and claimed that the battery on his body camera died after he pulled the man over.
Posted by ChefJoe on August 28, 2014 at 10:16 PM · Report this
@15 the NJ ACLU app was created to comply with the laws of NJ. It can be used in other parts of the country (it'll work), but my not comply with other state laws.
Posted by Leoba on August 29, 2014 at 4:38 AM · Report this
Wow. Cops think they don't have to follow the law, huh? They get to hassle you illegally and then when you object, YOU are the problem.

By the way - the clerk who called the cops should be sued as wel
Posted by abrock_ca on August 29, 2014 at 9:59 AM · Report this
It is not enough to have a video camera or a cell phone. The police held on to this man's device for six months, and he's lucky they didn't wipe the drive or break/lose it in the meantime. Everyone should install an app that streams live footage onto the cloud for later retrieval. I recommend Qik, but I'm sure there are other equally useful apps. This way, even if your cell phone is destroyed or confiscated, you will still have evidence at your disposal.

Feel free to copy and paste this advice (modified how you wish) on comment boards about similar subjects.
Posted by icowrich on August 29, 2014 at 3:01 PM · Report this
It is not enough to have a video camera or a cell phone. The police held on to this man's device for six months, and he's lucky they didn't wipe the drive or break/lose it in the meantime. Everyone should install an app that streams live footage onto the cloud for later retrieval. I recommend Qik, but I'm sure there are other equally useful apps. This way, even if your cell phone is destroyed or confiscated, you will still have evidence at your disposal.
Posted by icowrich on August 29, 2014 at 3:06 PM · Report this
Eric Arrr 44
Here's the guy's Facebook page:…

I really, really hope there's an attorney in the St. Paul area ready to step up and help this guy obtain some justice.
Posted by Eric Arrr on August 29, 2014 at 4:54 PM · Report this
rob! 45
@40, 42: Thanks.
Posted by rob! on August 29, 2014 at 9:32 PM · Report this
@31: I'm encouraged by the comments on that thread. There's one police defender, but pretty much everyone else seems to be saying "I hope everyone reads this, because it shows EXACTLY what's wrong with the cops."

Are there any cops who understand what their role in society is supposed to be anymore? Is that attitude just gone?
Posted by alguna_rubia on August 31, 2014 at 1:56 PM · Report this
@44: Posted there yesterday, presumably by the victim, Chris Lollie:

I would like to thank everyone for their support. I would ask that all media inquiries be directed to my manager. Her name is Melissa. She can be contacted on Facebook at Upscale Management MN or by email at Thank you and please continue to show your support.
Posted by Phil M on September 2, 2014 at 6:36 AM · Report this
See also:

- "St. Paul police defend Chris Lollie arrest; lawyers question aggressive use of force," by Aaron Rupar, August 29, 2014,…
- "First National Bank Building asked folks to `enjoy seat' where Chris Lollie sat before arrest," Aaron Rupar, September 2, 2014,…
Posted by Phil M on September 2, 2014 at 6:38 AM · Report this
The statement posted on August 28 by a representative of St. Paul Police Department reads:

Thank you for the discussion regarding the video that was has been circulated from a January 31, 2014 arrest.

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.

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.

We have had a discussion with the man in the video and he was given information on how to file a formal complaint if that was his desire. At this time, no formal complaint has been filed.

We hope this helps to clear up some of the information our communities have been seeking.
Posted by Phil M on September 2, 2014 at 6:46 AM · Report this

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