Family pushes for access to body of man killed while fleeing police

Yang family
Mee Yang, right, the widow of Jason Yang, receives support from her aunt, Zoua Vang. Jason Yang died early Saturday when running away from police. Minneapolis police say the Northwestern College graduate and father of four jumped off a freeway ramp and fell several stories to his death.
MPR Photo/Laura Yuen

Family members of a West St. Paul man who died a week ago while fleeing police are asking a judge Friday to compel the Hennepin County medical examiner to let them and a photographer see the body.

Jason Yang's wife and siblings say they made six requests to view his body but were denied. Minneapolis police say the 29-year-old jumped to his death last Saturday from a freeway off-ramp after running away from officers.

But that explanation puzzles his family, says his brother, John Yang. And Jason Yang's four kids are struggling to make sense of it.

"Tyler, the youngest, a few nights ago, he was crying on the bed. And one of his aunts had asked why he was crying. And he was saying, 'I miss Daddy. I miss Daddy,'" John Yang said, choking with emotion. "It hurts."

Jason Yang graduated from Northwestern College in St. Paul and worked as a translator for in St. Paul public schools.

Jason's wife, Mee Yang, said an employee from the medical examiner's office offered to help the family arrange for a funeral home to pick up the body.

"I haven't even had the chance to ID my husband's body. And they want me to send a body that I haven't even identified to a funeral home? No. I need to see him. I need answers," she said.

Mee Yang said the police explanation of how her husband died doesn't make sense to her. She said the medical examiner Friday agreed to allow the family to see the body, but would not let them bring in a photographer and an advocate for victims of police brutality.

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