The family of Fong Lee, a Minneapolis Hmong teenager who was killed in 2006, is holding a press conference and rally this weekend to announce they’re taking the fight for justice to theSupreme Court of the United States.
They say that Lee, who was 19 years old when he was shot by a Minneapolis Police Department officer, was wrongfully killed when he was riding his bike with some friends. Lee was shot eight times — five after he was already down on the ground. The MPD claims Fong was selling drugs near an elementary school and pulled a gun on the cops.
The officer, Jason Andersen, a rookie at the time, was later accused of unnecessary force in another case, and has been fired twice from the MPD. An all-white jury found that Andersen didn’t use excessive force, and the family appeal was denied. So now Lee’s family is taking their wrongful death case to the Supreme Court.
There are a lot of hinky elements to this story. The family claims the police planted the gun, which was in the possession of police from an earlier robbery. There are clips of surveillance video at the school, which shows Andersen in pursuit of Fong, and Fong doesn’t appear to have a gun. The shooting happened out of the camera’s range. There are no fingerprints on the gun.
The large Twin Cities Hmong community is understandably upset and rallying behind the Lee family, and even the media are questioning the official version of the killing. This will be a SCOTUS case to follow.
Thanks to Slanty at Slant Eye for the Round Eye, who lives in Minneapolis and wants to bring the case some national attention.
If you’re in the Minneapolis area, you should try to make the announcement and rally on Saturday. It’s being held at 2 pm at the elementary school where Fong Lee was killed: Cityview Elementary School, 3350 North 4th Street, Minneapolis.
Here’s the full text of the press release announcing the rally:
MEDIA ADVISORY FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA SEPTEMBER 28, 2010
PRESS CONFERENCE AND RALLY: FAMILY OF SLAIN TEEN FONG LEE APPEALING CASE TO SUPREME COURT
Janelle Yang, 952-201-0383
Justice for Fong Lee Committee, 612-424-1166
WHAT: Press Conference and Rally to announce the Lee familyâ€™s decision to appeal their wrongful death suit against Jason Andersen and the Minneapolis Police Department to the Supreme Court. The Lee family has retained the law firm Hilliard, MuÃ±oz, Gonzales (http://hmglawfirm.com/) in the shooting death of their teenage son Fong Lee by Minneapolis police officer Jason Andersen, who was recently fired because of a federal indictment in another brutality charge.
WHEN: Saturday, October 2, 2:00 p.m.
WHERE: Cityview Elementary School, where Fong Lee was killed.
3350 North 4th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55412
WHO: This press conference is being organized by the Justice for Fong Lee Committee and the family of Fong Lee. Family members and Janelle Yang, the legal contact for the family, will be making statements about the appeal. Community organizations and leaders will also be making statements of support.
WHY: The family and community were shocked and angered by the 2009 verdict in their wrongful death suit as well as the district courtâ€™s recent denial for an appeal. They view these decisions as part of a growing pattern of police misconduct and lack of accountability in the Twin Cities. Under new representation from the firm Hilliard, MuÃ±oz, Gonzales, the Lee family is appealing their wrongful death suit to the Supreme Court.
Statement from the attorney:
â€œAmidst the recent news of Minneapolis Police Officer Jason Andersen being fired for the second time in his career for lying about events when he was accused of kicking a teenager in the head while a member of the Gang Strike Force, the family of another of Andersen’s nineteenyear-old victims, Fong Lee, is petitioning for a writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of the United States to overturn the Eighth Circuit Court’s recent decision refusing to award Fong Lee’s family damages after he was shot 8 times by the officer. There are a number of issues in the case that warrant Supreme Court review and perhaps we can bring a rogue officer to justice.â€
There’s a lot of coverage of the case in the Minneapolis media. Here are some local and national links:
Justice for Fong Lee Rally and Press Conference on Saturday (Independent Business Network)
Family To Appeal Wrongful Death Suit Of Teen (WCCO CBS affiliate)
Police Brutality in the Twin Cities: Justice for Fong Lee Now! (APA for Progress)
Justice for Fong Lee (Facebook)
Fong Lee’s Family Angered by Verdict (Minnesota Public radio)