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Minnesota man alleges racial profiling in videotaped arrest

By Laura Ly, CNN
updated 10:43 PM EDT, Thu September 4, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Man says he was arrested for sitting in a public area
  • Police: "Video does not show the totality of the circumstances"
  • St. Paul police chief says an investigation is underway, promises transparency

(CNN) -- The video goes dark, but you can still hear the man screaming and pleading for help after police officers allegedly use a stun gun on him.

"Someone help me, someone please help me!" he yells. "I haven't done anything wrong!"

He continues to struggle, asking the officers what he's done, accuses them of unnecessary assault, and tells them he needs to go pick up his kids from daycare.

Another voice is heard: "Too late. You're going to jail."

The video was filmed by Chris Lollie, an African-American man who lives in St. Paul, Minnesota. It purports to show him being Tasered and arrested by white police officers in January.

The video was published to YouTube on August 26, and has nearly 1.2 million views and over 4,400 comments -- most of them criticizing the police as another example of excessive force.

At the time, police confiscated the video and Lollie was charged with trespassing, disorderly conduct and obstruction of the legal process.

Six months later, the video was returned to him and all of the charges were dismissed, according to police.

'Can somebody help me?'

For Lollie, however, the incident is far from over.

Lollie told officers in late January that he was waiting on benches in the First National Bank Building in downtown St. Paul before picking up his kids from daycare. A security officer reportedly asked him to leave the area, stating that he was in a private "employees only" area.

Lollie said he was sitting in a known public area and there were no signs designating the area as private. He refused to leave.

St. Paul police were called and a female officer began to question him as they both walked toward his children's daycare.

Lollie is seen walking with the officer, who says she wants to find out who he is and what the problem was.

Lollie tells the officer that he isn't required to give his identity if he hasn't broken any laws -- a right that the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota has confirmed.

"The problem is I'm black. That's the problem. No, it really is. Because I didn't do anything wrong," Lollie tells her.

Two male police officers join them and tell Lollie he's going to jail. One officer tells Lollie to put his hands behind his back, "otherwise this is going to get ugly."

Lollie presumably falls to the ground and the video goes black as officers attempt to restrain him. The audio continues.

"Can somebody help me?" Lollie cries. "That's my kids right there, my kids are right there!"

Police: Video does not show entire story

Sounds of what appears to be children wailing can be heard in the background.

Lollie continues to plead for someone to help him. He begins to get angry, uses expletives and accuses the officers of racial profiling and assault.

"I don't have any weapons. You're the ones with the weapons here," he says.

The video ends with an officer telling him again that he's going to jail. Lollie continues to maintain his innocence as he is presumably led away by officers.

Black community leaders met with the St. Paul Police Department on Monday to discuss the January arrest.

At a joint news conference afterward, Rev. Charles Gill of the St. Paul Black Ministerial Alliance said that they "do have some concerns regarding the level of aggression regarding the two male officers at this time."

The ACLU of Minnesota voiced its concerns on Twitter, calling the video "disturbing."

The St. Paul Police Department has responded on its Facebook page, stating, "As is often the case, the video does not show the totality of the circumstances."

"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 statement read.

A full investigation of the incident is underway.

St. Paul Police Chief Tom Smith promised transparency. "I can tell you, even the officers involved will welcome this investigation," he said Monday.

CNN affiliate WCCO reported that the officers were not disciplined after an internal investigation.

Lollie plans to file a formal complaint.

Racial profiling costs Arizona county $22 million

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