Rally in Minnesota this Weekend To Demand Justice in Murder of Fong Lee

September 28, 2010
Fong Lee, 19, was brutally shot multiple times — including 5 times while he lay on the ground — and killed by Minnesota cops in July 2006. A jury failed to find the officer who killed him guilty of excessive force. Now, his family is taking his case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

(H/T: Slant Eye for the Round Eye)

The justice system in this country has one simple, straightforward task: to uphold civic order and protect the civil rights of American citizens. We believe in this country’s justice system; we believe that when we are wronged, the courts are set up to determine the truth and convict the guilty.

And then, you come across a story that shakes that belief to its core.

Back in July 2006, Fong Lee, a 19-year-old Hmong-American living in Minnesota, was riding bikes with his friends when he was chased down and brutally shot several times — five of those bullets shot at close range while he was lying bleeding on the ground — by Jason Andersen.

Jason Andersen is not a drug dealer. He is not a gang member. Jason Andersen is a Minneapolis police officer.

Slant Eye for the Round Eye re-posts a press release that details the Lee family’s contention that Lee was murdered by Jason Anderson in an act of cold-blooded police brutality, and than how his murder was covered up.

Andersen stated he was justified in the killing, claiming that Lee pointed a gun at him. He was cleared by the MPD’s internal investigation even though neighborhood eyewitnesses were not interviewed, many of whom contradicted the police officers’ version of events in community press reports.

In 2009 the family of Fong Lee brought a wrongful death lawsuit again the City of Minneapolis and Jason Andersen, citing surveillance cameras that showed Fong Lee did not have a gun and evidence that demonstrated that the gun found at the scene had been in police custody, suggesting that the gun had been planted.

Jason Andersen was first in the media’s eye with his shooting death of Fong Lee but he has remained a contentious member of the Minneapolis police force. In September 2009 Police Chief Tim Dolan fired Andersen for violating the department’s ethics policy because of a dropped domestic assault charge. A state arbitrator returned Andersen to the force after the police union grieved the firing. Andersen is currently being indicted on federal charges for allegedly abusing a black teenager while part of the notorious and now-defunct Metro Gang Strike Force. On September 22, 2010 he was fired for a second time for violating the department’s code on “truthfulness” about this incident in which he allegedly kicked the teen in the head.

In the aftermath of Fong Lee’s death, the Lee family took his case to court alleging racial bias and excessive police force resulting in the wrongful death of Lee. The City of Minneapolis called just four witnesses — one of them Andersen himself, and another Andersen’s partner — as they made their argument that Lee’s shooting was justified. However, an all-white jury failed to find Jason Andersen guilty of using excessive force. Adding insult to injury, the Lee family was not even invited to be present when the verdict was handed down.

Slant Eye has a good round-up of the facts of the case:

  • Asian American youth shot eight times, five times after he was already on the ground.
  • The gun that police say was pointed at them (later retracted in a statement from last year), [and which they contend] was Fong Lee’s [may have been already been confiscated by police two years earlier.] [Further], the gun also had “no fingerprints, smudge marks, or any other evidence linking it to Fong Lee“.
  • It wasn’t a jury that had at least some Asian Americans or other POC on it who decided that excessive force wasn’t used. It was an all-white jury.
  • The police officer in question has a history of abuse on the job.

This week, the Lee family is announcing that they are appealing the court’s decision all the way to the Supreme Court, and they are looking for your help in demanding justice. They are calling for a rally and press conference to take place this Saturday, October 2ndto formally announce their filing for a writ of certiorariwith the Supreme Court of the United States.

Protesters at an earlier rally for Fong Lee

Here’s the skinny, including details on how you can attend:

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

CONTACT:

Janelle Yang, 952-201-0383
Justice for Fong Lee Committee, 612-424-1166
justiceforfonglee@gmail.com

WHAT: Press Conference and Rally to announce the Lee family’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, Muñoz, 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 court’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, Muñoz, Gonzales, the Lee family is appealing their wrongful death suit to the Supreme Court.

Statement from the attorney:

“Amidst 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.”

We can’t really know for sure the detailed circumstances surrounding Fong Lee’s death — and that is precisely the miscarriage of justice that has occurred in this case. Witnesses were not appropriately interviewed. Video tape footage of the incident were not adequately considered. Forensic evidence could not be found or presented that otherwise would be expected to tie the gun to Fong Lee — if the gun was his.

I don’t know if anti-Asian racial bias played a role in Andersen’s killing of Fong Lee. What I do know is that a young Asian American boy is dead, and that the cop who killed him has an ongoing history of racialized abuse of his authority. We expect the justice system to sort out the facts of this case and figure out whether or not Lee’s death was wrongful or not — yet, for nearly five years, the justice system in Minnesota has failed to even reasonably consider the facts of the case, let alone bring repercussions against Fong Lee’s killer or quell any uncertainty over the circumstances of his death.

Perhaps the Supreme Court can do better. Justice — even if that just means a fair opportunity to advocate and be heard on behalf of their son — is what Fong Lee’s family deserves.

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  • Rob

    I accidentally ran across your blog and appreciate you highlighting yet another story of injustice by the government against citizens.

    We’ll never know what happened to Fong Lee. It smells fishy probably because it is fishy.

    I was like you and believed in the American government propaganda of “innocent until proven guilty”, that courts were an avenue to reach justice, and that criminals in government would be caught and prosecuted. This I know now is all lies designed to placate and pacify naive people until the government wants to go after them.

    Cops and law enforcement lie routinely. They also harass people who video or audio record them violating the law. Videotape a cop beating somebody and if you make it public or let the police know about it, you are likely to have your video seized, be arrested, charged, and prosecuted for violating wire tap laws. The cops are good guys for beating people and breaking the law, you are evil for exposing it. This is the New USA under modern tyrants like Bush and Obama.

    America treats people as guilty until proven innocent. A mere accusation without evidence from some malicious liar is enough to get you kicked out of your home, banned from seeing your children, your income seized, and you reclassified as a dangerous criminal who will be instantly arrested if you dare do so much as answer your phone and talk with your child.

    When your accuser can’t produce any evidence of to back up the lies and you can prove convincingly they were lies (you were elsewhere, there is no evidence of injuries, she’s been caught in many other lies, etc.), there will be no apology, no reparations, and no effort to make up for the damage caused. The courts may clearly state you were falsely accused, but they will then proceed to persecute you and your children despite this. They will say “she is such a good mom — and obviously you are not a good dad because you haven’t seen your children much in years” never considering that your children and you have been denied your rights based upon lies and now are being further persecuted based upon the same lies even after they were proven conclusively to be false accusations.

    Don’t get the idea this doesn’t happen to moms, either. It often does when the dads are rich and well-connected. Justice is blind, but it knows how to take bribes and pillage the life savings of families.

    Even the vaunted “freedom of speech” does not exist as soon as some government official doesn’t like it. Your life, your freedom, and your children all belong to the US government and they will strip you of all of them for simply criticizing the wrong government official.

    You can’t even video your friend speaking in a public location with an iPhone without being beaten up by cops, lied about, and imprisoned. Go read about Gregory Koger in Chicago to understand what I mean. He may be nutty to publicly advocate for a Communist organization while living in a Fascist nation, but according to the Constitution and laws of the former USA he was well within his rights to be standing in a public location using his iPhone to video his friend talking. But the New USA says he has no rights when the police say so, he has no rights to present evidence that proves the cops lied and tends to prove his innocence, no rights to a fair trial, and no rights to anything but a bed in a prison cell so long as the fascist judge says otherwise.

    American is no longer a nation of laws, it is a nation of tyranny, terror, and totalitarianism. While the jackbooted thugs and their political masters may today be busying themselves persecuting fathers, peaceful political extremists, and the occasional mom, have no doubt that they will someday be coming for you, your family, and your children, too.

    You may be thinking that I’m some men’s rights extremist. I’m not. I believe in equal rights for both genders. There are plenty of feminists out there who know all of the above is the sad disgusting truth. Go read Wendy McElroy and her iFeminists website and you’ll quickly get the picture if you are paying attention. The government wants to pit women against men, mothers against fathers, whites against blacks against Asians against Hispanics, and any other group they can find against every other group they can find. Make them fight and enslave them all. That is the New USA.

    While the Old USA certainly had its share of problems (racism, sexism, etc.), the New USA has all of those and more and aims to pretend to fix certain problems by stripping people of their rights at every opportunity.

    Soon we will all be equal, all slaves under tight government control, except for our political masters who will be “more equal” than the rest of us just as the pigs in Animal Farm were more equal, too.

    From your “about” page it sounds like you supported Obama. He certainly did claim that he was going to turn around the many violations of law and curtailments of civil and human rights put in place by Bush/Cheney. But the reality is that Obama has continued virtually every one of those policies and worsened many of them. He has also continued policies that have decimated African-American families and turned so many of them into a permanent underclass dependent upon the government and foolishly believing that a vote for people offering them handouts is somehow good for them. They forgot the strings attached to those handouts, strings like how AFDC came with the requirement that the children’s father be banned from the household. While AFDC is gone and buried, the government still intends to destroy families to advance its cause of total control.

    American don’t have a choice between good and bad politicians any more. There is only a choice between bad and worse. Often it is impossible to discern the difference, ala Bush and Obama.

    So when Americans like Fong Lee are gunned down and the government covers up and whitewashes the whole mess, just remind yourself that the voters voluntarily agreed with many of the incremental choices and steps down the path to the tyrannical nation we have today. They were gullible and allowed themselves to be duped into going along with others. Almost none have truly fought against the rising tide of tyranny. With examples of what happens to people like Gregory Koger, it seems dangerous even to listen or watch anybody who dislikes the New Tyranny even if you say nothing to oppose it.

    Our best hope is to somehow raise enough awareness of how we are all interconnected and when one of us suffers from injustice from the government, we all suffer. Whether it is a dead Asian boy, children stripped from a good parent, or a political activist imprisoned for doing nothing wrong, we all suffer together. That suffering is only going to get worse so long as the people do not oppose the tyrants who run this country.

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