Talks To Continue Between Coleman, African-American Community Leaders
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – Leaders of St. Paul’s African-American community met behind closed doors Monday with Mayor Chris Coleman.
The meeting was to address a video of a black man being arrested by St. Paul police, a video that has raised a great deal of concern.
Chris Lollie shot a video with his cell phone as St. Paul Police arrested him in the skyway of the First National Bank Building on January 31.
Lollie was told he was trespassing.
Lollie says he was waiting in the skyway when police approached him and said they had reports of a suspicious person.
Police say he was in a restricted area.
He believed he was in a public space and refused to show his ID.
The incident escalated when additional officers arrived.
Police say they were forced to use their Tasers after Lollie pulled away and did not comply with their orders.
The release of the video eight months later has led to many questions about police tactics.
Mondays’s meeting was meant to address concerns from the community and discuss the call from the Mayor for a full review of the incident by the Police-Civilian Internal Review Commission.
Coleman says a frank conversation was had.
The leadership in St. Paul’s African-American community says they have no problem with the female officer in the video.
“We do have some concerns regarding the level of aggression regarding the two male officers at this time,” Rev. Dr. Charles Gill said.
Another concern was a new photo that appeared online about the area where Lollie was sitting.
First National Bank posted a picture of the seating area on its Facebook page back in 2009.
It says, “Need a quick five? Enjoy a seat on the skyway.”
Leaders do want to have further conversations with American Security, the firm responsible for security in the bank building where the incident occurred.
African-American leaders say they would like to hear more about the security firm’s policies and procedures.
Coleman hopes Monday’s meeting will build upon the long-standing relationship that exist between the community and police.
Everyone at the table Monday agreed that St. Paul is not Ferguson, Missouri.
They plan to continue talking to strengthen what they consider an already strong relationship between police and the community.
They will continue discussing while the investigation by the Police-Civilian Internal Review Commission is complete.