MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The president of the Saint Paul Police Federation has criticized Mayor Chris Coleman for statements he made regarding the arrest of a man that captured on cellphone video.
The incident involving Chris Lollie (pictured below) and three St. Paul Police officers took place on Jan. 31, but it went viral earlier this week after it was uploaded to YouTube.
Mayor Coleman released a statement Friday about the video, which shows Lollie arguing with police and eventually being tasered off camera. Coleman said the video raises a lot of concerns.
Police Federation President Dave Titus defended the three officers — who he identified as Michael Johnson, Bruce Schmidt and Lori Hayne — in a statement released Saturday.
“The three very experienced and decorated officers responding to this call repeatedly attempted to determine the level of threat presented by Mr. Lollie and to deescalate the situation,” Titus said. “The outcome of this arrest was determined by Mr. Lollie himself. He refused numerous lawful orders for an extended period of time. The only person who brought race into this situation was Mr. Lollie.”
Titus went on to say Coleman could rile up citizens with his statements, which question the officers’ tactics.
“Some of the Mayor’s statements regarding this arrest were inflammatory and could potentially and unnecessarily create an unsafe climate for residents and officers alike,” Titus said.
He added that the three officers have over 80 commendations between them, but just two reprimands.
Mayor Coleman says he plans to meet next week with St. Paul Police and leaders in the city’s African-American community to discuss the incident.