Dad to file lawsuit against St. Paul police for Taser incident - myfoxcarolinas.com

Dad to file federal lawsuit against St. Paul police for Taser incident caught on video

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman is calling for the Police-Civilian Internal Affairs Review Commission to conduct a full investigation into the arrest of a father hit with a stun gun last January. Christopher Lollie captured cell phone video of St. Paul police using a Taser on him after he refused to identify himself.

Charges were dropped in July, but Lollie and his attorney say it's now time to defend his Fourth Amendment rights. Attorney Andrew Irlbeck told Fox 9 News his client was a victim of unlawful search and seizure -- actions motivated by racial bias.

“It seems police consider it to be trespassing or loitering if it's a black man, but if it were a white man like myself, they may get treated very different,” Irlbeck said.

The incident happened in January as Lollie was walking through a skyway to pick up his children at New Horizons Academy. In the video, an officer can be heard telling Lollie, "Put your hands behind your back, or this is gonna get ugly.” The official incident report says Officer Bruce Schmidt was asked by Officer Michael Johnson to use the Taser because Lollie was “aggressively resistant.”

VIDEO: St. Paul cops use Taser on father in front of children

“Clearly, Mr. Lollie was looking for a chance to deescalate the situation and it was a few of the officers who took the opportunity to escalate it,” Irlbeck said.

The report indicates police used a Taser on Lollie twice before they pinned him to the ground and arrested him.  In a statement released Thursday, St. Paul Police Chief Tom Smith called the arrest and use of force "appropriate."

“It seems apparent there was no reasonable, articulable suspicion to arrest him in the first place,” Irlbeck argued. “Force was used on him without legal justification, which would entail several different Fourth Amendment violations.”

Worse is that Lollie claims the stun gun was used directly in front of his daughter's daycare class of at least 30 children.

“I saw her teacher and all the little kids in her class that know me,” Lollie said.

“People are in the skyway all day around the lunch hour and don't get told to move along and don't get investigated for trespassing when they're taking their kids to daycare,” Irlbeck said.

The incident is one Irlbeck considers a "sheer example of racial profiling."

“The fact that people pretend it doesn't exist is why it's able to persist in 2014,” he said.

After a complete investigation, Irlbeck plans to file a civil rights case through federal court.

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