Pedestrian stopped by police files lawsuit against officer, City of Edina

- A pedestrian seen in a viral video has filed a lawsuit against the police officer who arrested him and the City of Edina.

The YouTube video went viral earlier this month after a bystander uploaded it to YouTube. The video shows Edina Officer Tim Olson, dressed in plain clothes, confronting Larnie Thomas for walking in the street. Thomas was originally cited for disturbing the peace and failure to obey a traffic signal, but the citation was later dropped.

In the lawsuit, it says Thomas was walking in the street on Oct. 12 to avoid construction that was happening on the sidewalk.

The lawsuit alleges that Olson singled out Thomas because he is black and that the City of Edina is responsible for Olson’s conduct. Thomas is requesting $50,000 in damage and attorney fees, along with punitive damages the court deems necessary.

“I think it boils down to common sense. Certainly, we could look at prior instances in which  the lieutenant has interacted with people around similar types of situations. And that will hypothetically come out during the course of the case," Tim Phillips, the attorney for Thomas, told Fox 9. “ But I think the reason this video has been viewed so many times is common sense tells us a lot of people do what Mr. Thomas did and don’t receive the same treatment.”

The lawsuit accuses Olson of violating the Minnesota Human Rights Act, which states “it is an unfair discriminatory practice to discriminate against any person…because of race…”

A spokesperson for Edina said the city could not comment on pending litigation.

TIMELINE:

Oct. 12: The video went viral on social media after a witness uploaded it to YouTube

Oct. 14: Edina Police respond to video

Oct. 17: The citation was dropped and Edina police agreed to review their protocol.

Oct. 18: The City of Edina responded to six requests from the NAACP Minneapolis.

Oct. 22: Protesters call for change in response to controversial video of Edina arrest.


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