St. Paul pays $100K to settle skyway stun gun arrest

Christopher Lollie
Christohper Lollie, who was arrested in the St. Paul skyway in January 2014. He posted a video to YouTube that went viral and brought attention to his arrest.
Courtesy of Christopher Lollie

The city of St. Paul has agreed to pay $100,000 to settle a lawsuit by an African-American man who St. Paul police subdued with a Taser in a downtown skyway.

Christopher Lollie sued the city and three police officers in November 2014, alleging they violated his constitutional rights by arresting him in January 2014 without probable cause as he sat in a St. Paul skyway. The incident, captured on video, sparked outrage from civil rights groups.

In footage from the incident, Lollie is seen sitting in a public area of the skyway in the First National Bank Building waiting to pick up his children at the New Horizons Academy. Private security guards tell him to leave the area.

Later, a St. Paul police officer asks Lollie to identify himself. Lollie refuses, arguing that he had not broken any laws. When another officer arrives and tells Lollie that he is going to jail, there is a scuffle. The video captures the officer approaching Lollie, whose phone falls from his grasp. The picture goes dark, but Lollie can be heard shouting for help. The sound of a Taser can be heard.

Charges of trespassing, disorderly conduct and obstructing legal process against Lollie were later dropped.

Mayor Chris Coleman ordered a review in August 2014 after Lollie's cell phone video documenting the incident went viral.

Before you keep reading ...

MPR News is made by Members. Gifts from individuals fuel the programs that you and your neighbors rely on. Donate today to power news, analysis, and community conversations for all.

In November 2014, the St. Paul Police Civilian Internal Affairs Review Commission exonerated the three officers involved in Lollie's arrest.

Lollie had sought $500,000 in compensation from the city, as well as punitive damages. The settlement contains a clause that prohibits the parties from talking publicly about the case.

Lollie told MPR News in August 2014 that the video of his encounter with police went viral largely because there is increased attention on police arrests of black men following the death of young black men at the hands of law enforcement officers.

"My demeanor was what really saved me," he said.

MPR News produced this side-by-side of security and phone camera footage of the confrontation between St. Paul police and Chris Lollie.