Sitting while Black in Minnesota: Cops Tase man for not stating his name
Video posted online on Tuesday depicts the arrest and Tasing of an unidentified Black man in St. Paul, Minnesota for seemingly little reason other than his refusal to state his name, the Twin Cities Daily Planet reported.
“Why am I going to jail?” the man can be heard saying toward the end of the nearly 6-minute long clip.
“It’ll be explained to you,” a male officer responds.
The video, which seemed to have been taken on a cell phone this past winter, begins with a female officer walking beside the man and asking for his name.
“Why do I have to let you know who I am?” the man asks. “I don’t have to let you know who I am if I haven’t broken any laws.”
Minnesota does not currently have a “stop and identify” statute in place. Those laws give police the right to arrest someone if they do not identify themselves
“I want to find out who you are, and what the problem was back there,” the first officer says. The Daily Planet reported that a store clerk called police after the man was sitting in front of his store.
“I do not have to let you know who I am if I haven’t broken any laws,” the man says, adding that he explained to the clerk that he sat near the store for 10 minutes before going to pick up his children at a nearby school, New Horizon Academy.
“He walked up to me a minute later and got irate with me,” the man says of the clerk. “That’s a public area, and if there’s no sign that [says], ‘This is a private area, you can’t sit here,’ no one can tell me I can’t sit there.”
“The problem was,” the officer begins to say, before the man cuts her off, saying, “The problem is, I’m Black.”
Seconds later, the male officer approaches, and the man asks, “Please don’t touch me.”
“You’re gonna go to jail, then,” the officer responds, before he and his colleague grab the man.
“Come on brother,” the man says, “This is assault.”
“I’m not your brother,” the second officer answers. “Put your hands behind your back otherwise it’s going to get ugly.”
At that point, the male officer orders him to put his hands behind his back. The argument continues for a few more seconds before the image goes black. But the man can be heard yelling for help. As some children are heard in the distance, the man says, “That’s my kids right there.”
“Put your hands behind your back,” the officer can be heard yelling, before threatening to use the Taser. The device can be heard flickering at the 2:17 mark, before the man yells for help again.
Later on, the female officer can be heard asking, “Did I not ask you to stop to talk to me?”
Watch the video, as posted online on Tuesday, below.
[Image via Flickr Creative Commons]