St. Paul shooting: Hmong community questions use of deadly force

There was a small protest outside the St. Paul Police Department Headquarters Friday afternoon after a deadly encounter with St. Paul Police cost a member of the Hmong community his life.

"I'm here today to tell everyone that every life matters and I want to fight for justice for everybody no matter what color you are," said Hmong community leader Snowdon Herr during a demonstration.

The department released body camera videos from two officers responding to an apartment building in the city's West 7th neighborhood last Saturday, where callers said a man was threatening people with a knife in the building's community room.

When officers came across 65-year-old Yia Xiong, they told him to drop his gun, but he turned away and walked into a nearby apartment. The officers kicked the door to prevent it from closing, and Xiong came out of the apartment still holding the knife.

That's when officer Abdirahman Dahir fired his rifle and officer Noushue Cha deployed his taser. Xiong died of his injuries at the scene.

"No one wants to be in this situation. An officer involved shooting is one of the most trying moments that can happen in a community's story," said St. Paul mayor Melvin Carter.

Police say they hope the videos answer some questions for Xiong's family.

"We know there aren't words to alleviate their pain but we hope the release of these videos will help them begin to understand what happened," said St. Paul police chief Axel Henry.

While protesters say a loss to the Hmong community is a loss to the entire community.

"I've got to say it's one of the most heartbreaking videos I've ever seen," said St. Paul city councilperson Nelsie Yang. "This could have turned out a very different way and Yia Xiong should still be alive today,"