Neighborhood Justice Center

NJC is legal service corporation that has been providing comprehensive criminal defense services to low-income and indigent people in the East Metro area with a focus on communities of color since 1973.

The agency focuses its work in St. Paul, Minnesota, and the surrounding East Metro area.

Learn more about the services and vital role the Neighborhood Justice Center provides the community.




A message from Interim Executive Director Cullin J. Smith concerning the Christopher Lollie case: A Call For Change

The Neighborhood Justice Center is proud of our client, Mr. Lollie, and his respectful and absolutely reasonable responses to the police in this situation. Thankfully, Mr. Lollie had the wherewithal to record this incident, because without the video it would be hard for many to believe that this happened in our city, and few people want to believe that our officers would abuse an average man for sitting in a chair, waiting for his children from daycare. But this did happen, and we must stop this abuse of power before more needless harm and deaths occur. Mr. Lollie broke no laws, and his case was properly dismissed due to the hard work of our attorney, Lucas Rezac. However, even though the case was dismissed, the circumstances still make me utterly ill, as justice has not been served for Mr. Lollie. Simply by listening to this video you can feel the fear and pain in Mr. Lollie's voice, but you can also hear how police truly talk to people like Mr. Lollie when they think no one is listening. Situations like this permanently damage our communities and the faith we have in our police. The actions of the Officers in this case demonstrate how our society is still segregated in many ways, and Black men in our very community are regularly subjected to bias suspicion and unjust treatment by the hands of our police. While most police officers are hardworking, honest people, the Officers in this case clearly show that the St. Paul Police Department, and police departments all around our country, need to realize that the abuse of power by officers like those in Mr. Lollie's case destroy public trust in police, and in turn make our streets less safe.

We must take this opportunity to demand change from our public servants. Officers who have abused the public's trust must be held accountable, just as we hold members of the public accountable who break the law. We hope that the Internal Affairs process will result in proper punishment for all Officers involved, but sadly, it is extremely rare for officers to be punished for their misconduct, because the Internal Affairs process is police monitoring police, and no one wants to punish their co-worker. More incidents like Mr. Lollie's will happen unless honest discussion occurs on the part of police about how to heal the harm that has been caused by the militarization of our police departments. We do not need more police with more guns and more confrontations - we need more police who smile and treat every person with the respect they deserve. Moreover, good police officers need to stand up and demand this change too, because their co-workers are destroying the public trust that good officers rely on to do their job correctly and safely.

Join me and demand accountability for community members who have been abused by police. This is our community, and we must act now, or face more situations like this in the future. My heart goes out to Mr. Lollie and his family. I sincerely hope our community can use this horrific situation, and the similar incidents we see daily on the news to create positive change for us all.

Respectfully,

Cullin J. Smith
Interim Executive Director
Neighborhood Justice Center, Inc.
csmith@njcinc.org


  • A Non-Profit Community Based Law Office

    Neighborhood Justice Center is a non-profit community based law office. For NJC to continue to ensure that low-income persons and persons of color receive fair treatment in the legal system we need your support.

    About NJC»

  • Criminal Defense Services

    Felonies
    Gross Misdemeanors
    Misdemeanors
    Probation violations
    Community Education.

    NJC Programs»

  • Internal Affairs complaints

    Neighborhood Justice Center is now offering assistance in filing Internal Affairs complaints.

    Please contact Darcy Golish dgolish@njcinc.org for additional information.

    Neighborhood Justice Center is now offering assistance in filing Internal Affairs complaints.

    Please contact Darcy Golish dgolish@njcinc.org for additional information.

    IAC Assistance»