In July I shared a story of an incident in which my city’s police stormed a man’s house looking for drugs in the middle of the night and executed his two (understandably startled) dogs. One of the dogs was shot to death while fleeing in fear, and as I noted then, this isn’t an isolated incident. Just a few years ago, the Saint Paul Police killed another family dog…and forced handcuffed children to sit next to its bleeding corpse. The kicker? The raid wasn’t even in the right house!
Now, a new report has surfaced of SPPD brutality. This time, a young father named Chris Lollie was arrested while waiting to pick up his kids from school. The charges were “Trespassing, Disorderly Conduct, and Obstructing Legal Process,” and police claimed he refused to leave an area reserved for employees of the bank building he was in. However, not only were there no signs indicating that the location was private, but Lollie wasn’t even in the bank proper; he was in the skyway.
(For those who aren’t familiar with the skyway system, it’s a thing we have in St. Paul, Minneapolis, and some other Minnesota cities. Basically, it gets hella cold here in the winter, so they built enclosed sidewalks, or skyways, one or two stories up. In the downtown areas, the skyways form a whole second network of pedestrian roads, and once you get inside your office building—or whichever building is closest to your parking garage or bus stop or whatever—you can use them to move from building to building to get around the whole downtown area. It’s an easy way to go to lunch or meetings without having the snot in your nostrils freeze. I mention all that to say: Skyways are public spaces. You do not have to be an employee in the buildings they connect to use them. Lollie was not trespassing.)
Fortunately, Lollie had the presence of mind to capture his interaction with the SPPD on film. Here’s a transcript I’ve made of the first few seconds:
Lollie: So what’s your business with me right now?
Officer: I want to find out who you are, and what the problem was back there…
Lollie: There is no problem—that’s the thing.
Officer: So, talk to me, let me know, and you can be on your way.
Lollie: Let you know…why do I have to let you know who I am? Who I am isn’t the problem.
Officer: Because that’s what police do when they get called.
Lollie: Well, I know my rights, first off. Secondly, I don’t have to let you know who I am if I haven’t broken any laws. Like I told him, I’m going to New Horizons [School] to pick up my kids at 10 o’clock. I was sitting there for ten minutes…
As the officer brushes aside his explanation and continues to illegally demand he identify himself, Lollie cuts to the chase: “The problem is I’m black. That’s the problem. No, it really is, because I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Next, Lollie and the female officer he’s been walking and talking with meet a male officer. When Lollie politely asks the officer not to touch or obstruct him, because he has to go get his kids, the man immediately responds, “Well, you’re going to go to jail then.”
As the police initiate the arrest process—telling him to put his hand behind his back or “otherwise things are going to get ugly"—the camera visuals go black. Lollie continues to be heard pleading, still polite even while he’s assaulted, that he be allowed to go meet his children.
Next, they tase him.
If that’s not enough to convince you that this is gross police misconduct, seriously, take five minutes and watch the video. The calmness of his tone alone should make it obvious that there is no possible argument that the situation merited this kind of police action:
After multiple witnesses verified Lollie’s version of events, prosecutors dropped all charges against him. One woman who is also not an employee at the bank the skyway links noted that she regularly sits during her lunch break exactly where Lollie was sitting, but she has never been harassed by police. However, the SPPD continue to defend their actions.
At The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf points out how simple it would have been for police to resolve this situation without violence and an arrest had they cared to do so:
His story about getting his kids wasn’t merely plausible, given the man’s age and the fact that there was a school right there–it was a story the female police officer shown at the beginning of the video or the male officer shown later could easily confirm.
Lollie is also absolutely correct that no law required him to show an ID to police officers. As Flex Your Rights explains, “Police can never compel you to identify yourself without reasonable suspicion to believe you’re involved in illegal activity,” and while 24 states have passed “stop and identify” statutes “requiring citizens to reveal their identity when officers have reasonable suspicion to believe criminal activity may be taking place,” Minnesota isn’t one of those states.
The female officer shown in the beginning of the video could easily have de-escalated the encounter by saying, “You’re right, sir, you have every right to refuse to show me identification, and if you’re just picking up your kids I’m so sorry to have bothered you. If you don’t mind, I just want to walk with you to confirm that your story checks out so I can inform the 911 caller of their error. That way we can make sure this never happens again when you’re just here to pick up your kids.”
Or she could’ve said, “Sir, I totally see why this is confusing–a lot of people would think so. Let me try to explain. That totally looks like a public seating area, but it’s actually private. Don’t you think they should have a sign saying so? Calling me may seem like an overreaction, but technically they can ask you to leave. You’re walking away now, so there’s actually no problem as long as you’re not going to go back. Are you? Okay, then we have no problem, have a wonderful day.”
As Lollie is carried away post-tasing, he can be heard challenging the officers’ “legal” assault: "Who are you? You don’t rule me. I didn’t do anything wrong. I didn’t hurt anybody. I didn’t touch anybody."
If only the SPPD could honestly say the same.
That video that was being passed around yesterday
Constant assaults on human dignity.
has science gone too far
Subliminally. Say things like, “The other day I rounded a corner and there was a clown. I-cecreamed.” Or “I really angered my friend Isaac the other day and boy did Isaac-ream me out.”
Or just buy your own dang ice cream!
During World War II, Josephine Baker served with the French Red Cross and was an active member of the French resistance movement. Using her career as a cover Baker became an intelligence agent, carrying secret messages written in invisible ink on her sheet music. She was awarded the Croix de Guerre, and received a Medal of the Resistance in 1946. In 1961 she received the highest French honor, the Legion d’Honneur awarded by then President Charles de Gaulle.
Our loss, U.S.A….
If you don’t admire the shit out of J. Baker, who was also pretty openly bisexual and adopted NINETEEN children in addition to the badassery mentioned above, I want you to go sit in the corner and think about your life choices.
um she was also a huge civil rights activist and her refusal to perform for segregated audiences at major clubs that were fallin over themselves to book her helped de-segregate vegas performance venues
aaaand she had a pet cheetah
Anita Sarkeesian, whose excellent Tropes vs Women in Video Games series is an important contribution to the discussion of gender and games, has been driven from her home by enraged male gamers whose stalking, and explicit, credible threats of sexual violence against her and her family convinced her to go into hiding.
In so doing, these men have ably demonstrated the point Sarkeesian sought to make all along: that gaming is riddled with misogynistic violence, and that this violence reflects a real-world misogyny rampant within the gaming world.
Trolls drive Anita Sarkeesian out of her house to prove misogyny doesn’t exist [Adi Robertson/The Verge]
OKAY, LET’S TALK ABOUT ROBERT SMALLS (BECAUSE HE HAS A NAME, THANK YOU VERY MUCH).
Robert Smalls was born into slavery in 1839 and at the age of 12 his owner leased him out in Charleston, South Carolina. He gravitated towards working at the docks and on boats and eventually became the equivalent of a pilot, and in late 1861 he found himself assigned to a military transport boat named the CSS Planter.
On May 12, 1862, the white officers decided to spend the night on land. Smalls rounded up the enslaved crew and they hatched a plan, and once the officers were long gone they made a run for it, only stopping to pick up their families (who they notified) along the way. Smalls, disguised as the captain, steered the boat past Confederate forts (including Ft. Sumter) and over to the Union blockade, raising a white sheet his wife took from her job as a hotel maid as a flag of truce. The CSS Planter had a highly valuable code book and all manner of explosives on board.
Smalls ended up serving in the Union Navy and rose to the rank of captain there. He was also one of a number of individuals who talked to Abraham Lincoln about the possibility of African-American soldiers fighting for the Union, which became a reality.
After the war, Smalls bought his owner’s old plantation in Beaufort and even allowed the owner’s sickly wife to move back in until her death. He eventually served in the South Carolina House of Representatives (1865-1870), the South Carolina Senate (1871-1874), and the United States House of Representatives (1875-1879) and represented South Carolina’s 5th District from 1882-1883 and the 7th District from 1884-1887. He and other black politicians also fought against an amendment designed to disenfranchise black voters in 1895, but it unfortunately passed.
Smalls ended his public life by serving as U.S. Collector of Customs in Beaufort from 1889-1911. He died in 1915 at the age of 75.
And now you know Robert Smalls.
Let me hammer this point down. Slaves running away from plantions fighting for the Union army devastated plantations in terms of labor which weaken the south’s economy and immaculately leaded to the South losing the war. And if it was for Robert Smalls convincing Abraham Lincoln to allow former slaves to fight in the Union army slavery might have not have been abolished.
This man Robert Smalls was the man that ended slavery and we never learned his name in school. I heard about him from an article on cracked.com
Here is a side by side comparison of how The New York Times has profiled Michael Brown — an 18 year old black boy gunned down by police — and how they profiled Ted Bundy, one of the most prolific serial killers of all time.
Character assassination much.
I AM THROWING UP