The St. Paul Police Federation, the police union, is disputing the assertion that police officers were at fault in the arrest of an African American man who was sitting in chairs in the St. Paul skyway.

The video of Chris Lollie’s arrest in January, which was released this week (available here), has prompted a call for a review of the incident from Saint Paul mayor Chris Coleman.

In a statement released today, union president Dave Titus said he stands behind the officers involved.

The St. Paul Police Federation stands by the three officers involved in the January 31st arrest of Christopher Lollie. The officers involved acted responsibly, respectfully and in accordance with the high professional standards we expect from our members. “We do not choose what calls we respond to, and we do not have the luxury of having all of the information prior to arrival. 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. 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.”

The officers involved in this case collectively have over 70 years of law enforcement experience, received over 80 commendations, thank-yous or other forms of recognition, and only two reprimands. “Officers Michael Johnson, Bruce Schmidt and Lori Hayne are the types of officers any department would be proud to have on staff. Its unfortunate to see the professionalism of such decorated, dedicated officers called into question but we are confident in their work and stand with them.”

St. Paul Police Officers have tremendous relationships with the residents of St. Paul. Residents recognize our efforts everyday to help maintain safe neighbors throughout the city. Our officers work with groups like the St. Paul Athletic League, Safe City Nights and National Night Out to bring St. Paul residents and officers closer together. The Federation welcomes a review of the events on January 31st by the Police-Civilian Internal Affairs Review Commission (PCIARC) and feels confident such a review will continue to strengthen the relationships police officers already hold.

“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. The comparisons he makes do not reflect the already solid relationships that exist here and could be detrimental to our on-going efforts to build even stronger ties. The Federation looks forward to working with the community and continuing to bolster our relationships throughout the city.”

Conor Friedersdorf at The Atlantic pretty much gets it right today in his assessment of the arrest of Chris Lollie, the man in the self-taken video who apparently violated a law that doesn’t exist when he sat down in the St. Paul Skyway (The First National Bank building was listed as the “victim” in the police report) while he waited for his kids to get out of daycare and then refused to tell the police his name.

You’ve probably seen the video (first posted on Twin Cities Daily Planet) of the January incident by now. But if not, here:

How could this have gone a little more decently?

Here’s Friedersdorf on what Officers Lori Hayne and Jeffrey Stiff might have done instead:

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.”

This wasn’t a high pressure, life-or-death situation. Is a bit of cordiality in service of calming things down too much to ask?

Her failure to do the right thing pales in comparison to the male police officer, who appears on the scene, abruptly informs the increasingly and understandably distraught father that he’s going to jail–for what crime he does not say–and then, after the video goes black but audio coverage remains, proceeds to tase the man. “I didn’t do anything wrong!” he cries, “I didn’t break any laws and you tase me? That’s assault!” Even after being tased, the man is incredulous that he will be arrested, and it’s heartbreaking to listen as he realizes there will be no one to pick up his kids and that he’ll perhaps miss work at a job that he needs to support them.

It all took place in January but apparently was only uploaded this week because the police kept his cellphone for “evidence” until the charges against him were dismissed last month.

That it was returned with the video intact is about the only encouraging takeaway from the incident.

Ferguson, Missouri has opened plenty of eyes to the disconnect between cops — especially white cops — and African Americans and it is interesting to speculate whether this would’ve gone differently in the post-Ferguson world. Saint Paul police chief Tom Smith defended the officers.

As a result of this, Saint Paul is rapidly getting a bad national reputation.

At last check today, the First National Bank building was not being victimized by the ignominy of someone sitting down. And there is still no sign posted that the seats are only for employees in the building.

Chicago’s Jaheim Benton slides safely into third ahead of the tag by Las Vegas’ Dillon Jones in the fifth inning of the United States Championship game at Saturday’s Little League World Series tournament. Chicago won 7-5. Gene J. Puskar/AP

It was pretty neat this week when Chicago feted the United States’ Little League champions.

But now it’s back to reality for one of its players, Jaheim Benton, a 12-year-old.

In the “two Americas,” the nation gets behind a kid who can play baseball, especially if the team is credited with “uplifting America” but tends to look the other way when a kid is homeless.

Jaheim Benton is homeless, the Chicago Sun Times reports.

His mom’s hours at Catholic Charities were cut. His father doesn’t make enough as a radiator technician.

“I’m trying to do the best I can and get us back together,” his mom said.

“I have been at my job for six years. I have never had this happen to me . . . This is the first time I have ever lost a home,” she said.