Police State/Civil Liberties

George Floyd death: ‘The same happened to my son’

Youa Vang Lee was at her home in Minneapolis when her son showed her the video of George Floyd dying under a police officer’s knee. Lee, a 59-year-old Laotian immigrant who assembles medical supplies at a factory, heard Floyd cry out for his mother. It triggered a deep and familiar pain.

“Fong was probably feeling the same way, too,” she said in Hmong, her eyes filling with tears. “He was probably asking for me, too.”

In 2006, Lee’s 19-year-old son Fong – who was born in a refugee camp in Thailand – was shot eight times by Minneapolis police officer Jason Andersen. The officer remains on the force to this day, a fact that the Lees were not aware of until told by the BBC. The officer was terminated twice, but has apparently since been rehired.

Although security footage showed Lee was running away at the time, Andersen claimed the teenager had a gun. A grand jury declined to indict him and the police department ruled the shooting justified. The family sued in civil court claiming excessive force and brought evidence the gun found beside Fong’s body was planted. An all-white jury found against them.

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