'Expect longer lines': Tightened security at Hmong Freedom Fest
ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) - St. Paul police say there will be added security measures at this weekend's Hmong International Freedom Festival. This comes after possible threats of violence surfaced on flyers and social media.
At a press conference held Wednesday afternoon, St. Paul police say already had tightened security measures in place before the social media posts surfaced. Following last year's deadly shooting at the festival, officers worked with the event organizers to increase security. A 19-year-old man died in the shooting. According to the charges, it happened after a fight between two rival gangs escalated.
Police say Tuesday they learned of flyers left on cars which suggested possible violence at this weekend's festival. Photos of the flyer were later shared on social media.
"We're aware of that flyer, trying to figure out the validity of it and just really go into the investigation, so we are investigating the actions of the flyer and trying to ascertain who did it and the intent behind it," said Commander Sheila Lambie.
Officers say attendees should expect longer lines to enter the festival as bag checks will take longer. No items like food or drink can be brought in.
"The plan is to have people come here know the lines are going to be longer than they were before, but that's ok, it's for safety and security," said Commander Lambie.
With the security changes in place, festival organizers are assuring people it is safe to come to the event.
"This should be a family event, should be a fun event and I would like to welcome everyone to come here," said Peter Pha, United Hmong Family.
This year's festival is scheduled to take place at McMurray Fields in St. Paul on Saturday and Sunday.