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Lawsuit: Minneapolis violated data law in withholding information in fatal police shooting

Chao Xiong

Dec 19, 2019

A community group that helps the families of people killed by police is claiming that the city of Minneapolis is violating data practices laws by withholding some information about Sunday’s fatal shooting of a north Minneapolis man.

Communities United Against Police Brutality (CUAPB) filed a complaint Wednesday in Hennepin County District Court and is asking a judge to intervene in the matter. The non-profit said that on Monday it requested several pieces of information from Minneapolis police about the death of Chiasher Fong Vue, and that the city has refused to comply.

“The data requested by CUAPB through the 12/16/19 Request is required to be public at all times in the Minneapolis Police Department,” the group’s complaint said. “

As a result of the City of Minneapolis violation of MN Stat. 13.82, CUAPB is unable to fulfill its mission of increasing oversight and accountability of the Minneapolis Police Department with respect to police misconduct and to provide timely assistance to the family of Chiasher Fong Vue.”

The city could not be immediately reached for comment.

Community leaders and Vue’s family members and friends held a vigil Tuesday evening outside his home in the 3100 block of N. Thomas Avenue where he was killed. Police were called to the address about 3 a.m. Sunday for a domestic disturbance and learned en route that someone had fired shots inside.

While most of the home’s occupants fled, authorities said Vue walked outside after a brief standoff and pointed a “long gun” at police. Officers opened fire.

Family and friends questioned why officers fired dozens of shots at Vue, 52. Questions remain about whether Vue, 52, shot at officers and, if so, how many times.

CUAPB said in its complaint that it filed a request through the city’s online data request portal for: the time, date and place of the incident; any resistance encountered by police; whether weapons were used by the agency or “other individual”; the legal basis for the action; the identities of agency’s units and staff involved; whether police used a portable recording system; and the manner in which police received information that led to their actions, among other information.

The data, the group said, is public data as outlined by state law.

A staffer with the police’s records unit e-mailed CUAPB Tuesday saying that information about the case would be posted on the city’s website “as it becomes available,” CUAPB’s complaint said.

The group said that the city failed to publicly report six pieces of data from the case, including whether police encountered resistance, whether weapons were used by police or other people, and the legal basis for the action, among others.

The city possesses all the data in question, the group’s complaint said.

CUAPB is asking a judge to order the city to comply with the request, find damages against the city for not complying with the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act and award legal costs and fees to CUAPB.

Chao Xiong • 612-270-4708

Twitter: @ChaoStrib

CREDIT: By Chao Xiong

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