No charges against police in North Minneapolis fatal shooting

Monday,

Nyem no mus nyeem lus Hmoob

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Minneapolis police officers who were involved in the shooting death of an armed North Minneapolis man last year will not be charged, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Monday.

Chiasher Vue was shot on Dec. 15, 2019 on the porch of his home at 3114 Thomas Avenue while firing 13 shots from a semi-automatic rifle, most of them at police who had been called to the house by Chiasher Vue’s adult son.

An extensive investigation by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which included an autopsy report by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office, determined that 13 police bullets struck the 52-year-old Chiasher Vue, causing his death. His blood alcohol level was determined to be .20, more than twice the legal limit for driving.

“This is another tragedy in our community and we extend our sympathies to Chiasher Vue’s family,” Freeman said. “However, Minneapolis police took numerous steps to avert this outcome. They brought in Hmong-speaking officers to talk to Chiasher Vue by phone and face-to-face. One of the first attempts to subdue him was a non-lethal round. But ultimately, Chiasher Vue rejected the offers made to him and began firing his rifle, endangering the lives of the officers and nearby residents. Under the totality of the circumstances, the use of deadly force by the officers was necessary, proportional to the threat and objectively reasonable.”

According to the BCA investigation, Chiasher Vue’s son called 911 at 3:07 a.m. and said his father was drunk and had just fired three or four shots inside the house. Several of his children had fled to a car outside but the caller was unable to get his grandmother, Chiasher Vue’s mother, out of the house in her wheelchair. The dispatcher told the son to have his siblings drive about three houses north to Thomas and Lowry Avenues and police would meet them there.

The first squad car to arrive at that location was occupied by Officers Kyle Pond and Aaron Womble, both of whom had been with the department about five years. They saw the car pull up and three people climbed out. The officers, because it was below zero, had them get into the squad car. One of the daughters told Officer Pond that her father spoke only Hmong, had fired his rifle inside the house and had undiagnosed mental health issues.

Sgt. Troy Carlson, a 14-year veteran and the Fourth Precinct Patrol Supervisor that night, arrived at the intersection. Officers Peng Moua, with five years on the force and his partner, Toua Yang, seven years, had also just arrived. Sgt. Carlson instructed Moua, who was fluent in Hmong, to use the car’s PA system to talk to Chiasher Vue. No one from the house responded.

A short time later, Officer Andrew Reed and his partner Richard Brown, pulled up behind Chiasher Vue’s house. Reed, a 12-year police veteran, five of them with Minneapolis, was certified in less-lethal weapons. Sgt. Carlson told him to make his way to the intersection. Officer Reed grabbed his single-shot, breach action launcher and loaded it with a less lethal round. He moved towards the intersection but as he moved through the front yard of the house, Chiasher Vue stuck his head out. Officer Reed ducked behind a tree or telephone pole.

Meanwhile, Officer Moua, who had been to the house about a week earlier concerning a different family member, was speaking to a daughter. She finally got her dad on the phone and he agreed to talk to Officer Moua. Chiasher Vue sounded angry and said he had an argument with his sons and he fired shots in his house.

Officer Moua told Chiasher Vue, “Everything is going to be okay . . . we are here to help you out . . . I just want to talk to you.”  Chiasher Vue replied that if he came outside the police would take him to jail.  Officer Moua told Chiasher Vue they would get him the treatment he needed and take him to the hospital.  Chiasher Vue continued to yell and said he was going to hurt somebody, but eventually agreed to come outside. 

Officer Moua ran towards the house and had reached the neighbor’s yard when Chiasher Vue opened the porch door, stuck his head out, saw all the police officers and went back into the house. Officer Moua called to him by name, but when there was no response he headed back to the intersection. There, Chiasher Vue’s daughter was pleading with her father to surrender and the officer was telling her what to say. Then Officer Moua heard someone say over the police radio, “He’s got a rifle,” and then shots being fired.

After Chiasher Vue went back into the house, Officer Reed took his less lethal weapon and went behind a sport utility vehicle parked in front of the house. He was joined there by Officer Travis Williams. When Chiasher Vue opened the outside door the second time both Williams and Reed noticed he had a rifle.

Officer Reed shouted the word “Orange” loudly and repeatedly. It was code to let the other officers know that he would be firing a less-lethal round and not to get in the way. He aimed at Chiasher Vue’s chest and fired. Within seconds, more shots were fired by officers and Chiasher Vue.

Officer Yang, who had moved behind a car in front of the house, saw the rifle and yelled twice in Hmong, “Chiasher, throw away your gun! Get your hands up!  Let’s talk!”

While the body-worn cameras were often obstructed as the officers ducked behind cover, what they showed, along with the consistent reports of the officers, is that Chiasher Vue opened the door and had a rifle pointed downward but then raised it to his shoulder. Investigators were unable to determine if he shot first or one of the police officers did. Regardless, he eventually went down and the officers stopped shooting.

However, a few seconds later, Chiasher Vue sat up and brought the rifle back up and the officers fired again until he fell backward again. Officers moved in slowly and realized Chiaser Vue was no longer moving. They helped get him to an ambulance that had been waiting close by. He died from his wounds that morning at North Memorial Hospital. Police recovered a semi-automatic 7.62 x 39 mm caliber rifle, manufactured in Romania, a Romarm Model GP WASR-10.  

Minnesota law, and U.S. Supreme Court decisions, state that it is not a crime for a police officer to use deadly force when the officer reasonably believes it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or others. The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office considered whether to charge Sgt. Carlson and officers Pond, Reed, Williams, Yang, Womble, Donnell Crayton, Daniel Ledman and Jason Wolff.

In this situation, the officers at the scene knew that Chiasher Vue had fired shots inside his house, scaring his children. When he stuck his head outside the porch door, it appeared he was going to surrender. But when he went back inside, grabbed his gun, and pointed it at officers, he had escalated the situation and the nine officers were presented with a clear threat of immediate great bodily harm or death.

No criminal charges are warranted.

Click here to read the Hennepin County Attorney's Office report

Click here to see the redacted case files from the BCA

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Nyob rau hnub Monday, Hennepin County tus kws lij choj Mike Freeman tau tshaj tawm tias yuav tsis rub plaub rau cov tub ceev xwm ua tua tus txiv neej ua muaj phom nyob rau roog North Minneapolis.

Txhiaj Sawm Vwj raug tua hnub tim 15 lub 12 hli xyoo 2019 nyob ntawm nws lub tsev, 3114 Thomas Avenue. Lub sij hawm ntawd Txhiaj Sawm tau taw thiab tua 13 phom rau tub ceev xwm ua tuaj pab vim nws tus tub hu.

Kev soj ntsuam ntawm lub koom haum Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension nrog rau daim ntawv qhia txog kev tuag, autopsy report ntawm Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office qhia tias Txhiaj Sawm Vwj muaj hnub nyoog 52 xyoo, tau tag sim neej vim nws raug 13 lub mos txwv. Nws cov ntshav muaj cawv txog .20, ntau tshaj ob npaug txoj cai txwv tsav tsheb.

Kws lij choj Freeman hais, “Qhov no yog kev tus siab dua rau ntawm peb lub zej zos. Peb nrog Txhiaj Sawm Vwj tsev neeg tus siab. Minneapolis tub ceev xwm yeej tsis xav tua tib neeg zoo li no. Lawv coj tub ceev xwm hmoob tuaj nrog Txhiaj Sawm tham hau xov tooj thiab tim ntsej tim muag. Thawj zaug tub ceev xwm siv mos txwv tua tsis tuag (non-lethal) kom ntes tau, tiam sis tsis tau hauj lwm. Thaum kawg Txhiaj Sawm tsis yeem thiab tua nws rab phom, ua rau phom sij rau tub ceev xwm thiab cov neeg nyob ze. Thaum txhua lub tswv yim tsis ua hauj lwm lawm, tub ceev xwm thiaj tau siv riam phom, uas tsim nyog tus xwm txheej khub ntxhov lub tsam thawj ntawd.

Raws li lub koom haum BCA soj ntsuam, Txhiaj Sawm Vwj tus tub hu rau 911 thaum 3:07 sawv ntxov hais tias nws txiv qaug cawv thiab tau tua 3 los 4 phom nyob rau hauv tsev. Ob peb tug me nyuam khiav tau rau lub tsheb nyob nraum zoov, tiam sis tshuav lawv pog nyob hauv tsev zaum nws lub lob. Tus dispatcher hais rau tus tub kom lawv cov menyuam tsav tsheb mus li 3 lub tsev rau txoj kev Thomas thiab Lowry Avenues, tub ceem xwm mas ntsib lawv ntawd.

Thawj lub tsheb tuaj txog yog tub ceev xwm Kyle Pond thiab Aaron Womble, nkawd ob leeg tau ua tub ceev xwm ntev li tsib xyoos rau nroog Minneapolis. Nkawd pom ib lub tsheb muaj peb tus neeg tawm los. Vim no heev, ob tug tub ceev xwm thiaj kom lawm nkag los hauv nkawv lub tsheb. Tus ntxhais hais qhia tub ceev xwm Pond hais tias nws txiv hais lus hmoob xwb. Nws txiv tau tua phom hauv tsev thiab muaj teeb meem txog kev puas siab puas ntsws.

Sergeant Troy Carlson yog tub ceev xwm tau 14 xyoos thiab nws yog tus Patrol Supervisor hmo ntawd rau pab pawg tub ceev xwm 4th Precinct. Nws tuaj txog ntawm txoj kev tshuam nrog rau tub ceev xwm Pheej Muas thiab Tuam Yaj. Pheej Muas ua tub ceev xwm tau 5 xyoo hos Tuam Yaj ua tau xya xyoo. Sergeant Carlson qhia kom tub ceev xwm Pheej Muas siv lub paj taub hu nrog Txhiaj Sawm tham. Tiam sis tsis muaj neeg teb hauv tsev tuaj.

Tsis ntev tom qab ntawd, tub ceev xwm Andrew Reed thiab Richard Brown tuaj txog tom qab Txhiaj Sawm Vwj lub tsev. Andrew Reed ua tub ceev xwm tau 12 xyoo, 5 xyoo yog nrog lub roog Minneapolis thiab nws kawm tiav siv cov phom tua tsis tuag (non-lethal). Sergeant Carlson hais kom tub ceev xwm Reed mus rau pem txoj kev tshuam. Tub ceev xwm Reed thiaj nqa nws tsab phom tua tsis tuag (non-lethal) uas tua tau ib lub mos txwv xwb nrog nws. Thaum mus txog pem hauv ntej Txhiaj Sawm lub tsev, tub ceev xwm Reed pom Txhiaj Sawm cev taub hau tuaj xauj, ces Reed khiav nkaum tom qab tsob ntoo los sis tus ncej xov tooj.

Thaum ntawd tub ceev xwm Muas, uas twb tau tuaj ntawd lub tsev no 1 week ua ntej lawm vim teeb meem ntawm lwm tus neeg, tham nrog tus ntxhais.  Tus ntxhais hu tau nws txiv kom nrog tub ceev xwm Muas tham. Txhiaj Sawm muaj suab npau taws thiab hais tias nws tau sib ceg nrog nws cov tub thiab nws tau tua phom hauv tsev.

Tub ceev xwm Muas hais rau Txhiaj Sawm, “Txhua yam yuav okay…peb tuaj pab koj…Kuv tsuas xav nrog kov tham.” Txhiaj Sawm teb tias yog nws tawm tuaj sab nraud zoov tub ceev xwm yuav coj nws mus kaw. Tub ceev xwm Muas hais rau Txhiaj Sawm tias lawv yeej yuav pab nws thiab yuav coj nws mus kho tom tsev kho mob. Txhiaj Sawm cem tias nws yuav ua kom neeg raug mob, tiam sis thaum kawg nws kuj pom zoo tawm tuaj sab nraud.

Thaum tub ceev xwm Muas mus txog lub tsev ntawd Txhiaj Sawm lub ib sab, nws pom Txhiaj Sawm Vwj qhib qhov rooj thiab thawm taub hau tuaj. Thaum nws pom tub ceev xwm nws rov qab nkaum mus hauv tsev. Tub ceev xwm Muas hu Txhiaj Sawm lub npe tiam sis tsis hnov teb.  Tub ceev xwm Muas tau thim rov qab mus rau ntawd kev tshuam.

Thaum ntawd nyob rau txoj kev tshuam, Txhiaj Sawm Vwj tus ntxhais quaj qw thov kom nws txiv tawm tuaj nyoos thiab tub ceev xwm qhia kom tus ntxhais hais li cas. Sib hawm ntawd hnov tub ceev xwm tshaj tawm tias “nws muaj ib rab phom.” Ces cia li hnov suab phom nrov.

Tom qab Txhiaj Sawm Vwj rov mus hauv tsev, tub ceev xwm Reed nqa nws rab phom tua tsis tuag (non lethal) mus nkaum ntawd ib lub tsheb SUV ze ntawm qhov rooj. Tub ceev xwm Travis Williams kuj los nkaum nrog nws thiab. Thaum Txhiaj Sawm qhib qhov rooj zaum ob, tub ceev xwm Williams thiab Reed nkawd ob leeg pom Txhiaj Sawm muaj ib rav phom ntev.

Tub ceev xwm Reed qw nrov nrov ob peb zaug hais tias “Orange.” Los lus no txhais tau tias nws yuav tua nws rab phom tua tsis tuag (non-lethal), sawv daws txhob los thaiv nws hauv ntej. Ces nws taw phom rau Txhiaj Sawm lub hauv siab thiab tua. Tsis muaj pes tsawg feeb xwb suab phom nrov cuag tsi los ntawd tub ceev xem thiab Txhiaj Sawm Vwj.

Tub ceev xwm Yaj uas nkaum tom qab lub tsheb, pom Txhiaj Sawm rab phom ces nws hu lus Hmoob rau Txhiaj Sawm ob zaug, “Txhiaj Sawm tso koj rab phom. Tsa koj ob txhais tes. Cia sib tham tso.”

Vim tub ceev xwm khiav mus los ua rau lawv cov koob video thaij tsis tau tag tag. Cov ua thaij tau nrog rau tub ceev xwm cov ntaub ntawv qhia tau tias Txhiaj Sawm Vwj qhib qhov rooj thiab muaj ib rav phom taw rau hauv av, tiam sis nws rov muaj kwv rau saum xub pwg. Cov neeg soj ntsuam txiav txim siab tsis tau hais tias xyov Txhiav Sawm xub tua los tub ceev xwm xub tua.  Li cas los xij, thaum Txhiaj Sawm vau rau hauv av, tub ceev xwm tso tseg tsis tua lawm.

Tsis muaj pes tsawg feeb Txhiaj Sawm rov qab sawv los thiab tsa nws rav phom. Tub ceev xwm rov qab tua nws ua rau Txhiaj Sawm vau dua.  Tub ceev xwm maj mam mus ze Txhiaj Sawm thiab pom tias nws tsis nti lawm. Lawv pab nqa Txhiaj Sawm rau lub tsheb kho mob uas twb tuaj nyob tos ze lawm. Hnub ntawd thaum sawv ntxov Tshiaj Sawm tau tag sim neej nyob ntawm lub tsev khob mob North Memorial los ntawm raug tua. Tub ceev xwm khaws tau ib rav phom semi-automatic 7.62 x 39 mm caliber, hom Romarm Model GP WASR-10, tsim los ntawm teb chaw Romania.

Cov cai ntawm xeev Minnesota thiab cov cai ntawm teb chaw Amelikas tau teev tseg hais tias nws tsis yog ib lub txim thaum tub ceev xwm tua tib neeg, yog lawv ntseeg hais tias yuav pab tau lawv tus kheeb los lwm tus txoj sia thiab kev raug mob. Lub hoob kas lij choj nyob nroog Hennepin tau xav seb yuav rau txim los tsis rau, rau tub ceev xwm Pond, Reed, Williams, Yaj, Womble, Donnell Crayton, Deniel Ledman thiab Jason Wolff.

Cov tub ceev xwm uas nyob rau hmo ntawd yeej paub tias Txhiaj Sawm tau tua phom hauv nws lub tsev ua rau nws cov menyuam ntshai. Zoo li nws twb yuav nyoo thaum nws cev taub hau tawm, tiam sis nws rov qab nkaum mus hauv tsev mus muab nws rav phom. Thaum Txhiaj Sawm taw phom rau tub ceev xwm ua rau qhov xwm txheej yim kub ntxhov tuaj thiab ua rau muaj kev phom sij raug mob raug tuag rau tub ceev xwm.

Vim li no tub ceev xwm thiaj tsis muaj txim.

Nyem no mus nyeem Hennepin County lub hoob kas li choj daim ntawv

Nyem no mus saib cov redacted ntaub ntawm ntawd BCA
Redacted txhais hais tias cov ntaub ntawd npog ib cov lus muab tsis tau rau pej xeem pom thiab paub