No criminal charges against St. Paul officers in the death of Yia Xiong

Protesters hold signs. One reads "Justice 4 Yia Xiong."
Demonstrators chant "I am deaf, don't shoot" as they walk in front of the St. Paul Police Department's Western District headquarters during a protest in 2023.
Simone Cazares | MPR News

Updated: 7:18 p.m.

The Ramsey County Attorney John Choi and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison jointly announced Wednesday “criminal charges are not warranted” in the death of Yia Xiong in February 2023.

Police said they shot the 65-year-old man when he approached them with a knife in his St. Paul apartment complex. Xiong's family has said he did not respond to requests to drop the knife because he was deaf, dealt with mental health issues and could not understand English.

“I wonder if Yia Xiong was their grandfather, their father, their son, their daughter, or anything like that, they might speak differently,” said Snowdon Herr, the head of the Coalition for Justice for Yia Xiong. “But because Yia Xiong was just a Hmong old man that unfortunately got to be killed by the St. Paul Police, they don't care. That’s how I feel.”

Choi and Ellison concluded the use of deadly force was legal under Minnesota law.

“The decision comes after a lengthy investigation by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), a thorough prosecution review of their case file by both the RCAO and the AGO as well as an independent review from a use-of-force expert, Jeff Noble,” the attorneys said in a joint email statement.

Choi asked Ellison to join the review as an “added measure of transparency and a commitment to a complete and impartial review of the evidence,” the email said.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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