St. Paul City Councilmembers Nelsie Yang And Dai Thao Join Hmong Community And Allies To Call For Federal Investigation Into Siskiyou County, California Sheriff’s Office

By Chris Xiong




St. Paul City Councilmembers Nelsie Yang (Ward 6) and Dai Thao (Ward 1) join organizers and community leaders to call for a federal investigation into Siskiyou County, California Sheriff’s Office for racial discrimination toward the Hmong community in Siskiyou County. This action follows the tragic killing of a Hmong American man by an officer to which the victim’s family and bystanders bore witness, the restriction of water supplies intentionally and disproportionately targeting Hmong cannabis farmers in the county, and a Hmong American activist by the name of Zurg Xiong going on a hunger strike in protest to the discrimination and mistreatment of his community.

Council Member Yang states, “Hmong community members near and far reached out for my support to put a stop to these injustices. The treatment from the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office toward the Hmong community is repulsive and shameful. Siskiyou County has a history of racially discriminating communities of color. Now, that racism comes in disguise – stripping the Hmong community of water, which is a human rights violation. It’s deplorable that the Sheriff’s Office refuses to release body cam videos and information about the Hmong man who was killed. We need justice, and we need it now.”

Council Member Thao states, “There needs to be accountability. The Sheriff’s Office made a mistake by killing an innocent man in front of his wife and three kids. It’s horrifying, shameful and a major blunder. He and his department should be held accountable. The sheriff and his department can’t be judge, jury and executioner. This will only further drift the relationship between the community and law enforcement.”

Councilmembers Thao and Yang join the Hmong Community and Allies in demanding: 

  1. All video evidence from body and vehicle cameras regarding the fatal shooting that took place on June 29th be released to the public, and for the officers involved to be held accountable for what we allege as unnecessary use of force. The extraordinarily high number of bullets fired (40-60 rounds) is far beyond the reasonable use of force and represents the execution of an American citizen trying to return to his property.
  2. Drop all charges against the 14 Hmong men arrested for trying to return to their homes.
  3. An investigation into allegations and video evidence of CalFire dumping water during the lava fire and “drought” emergency.
  4. Rescind the 100-gallon water limit ordinance, return seized water trucks, and ensure no more unreasonable limitations be placed on communities’ access to water nor any other essential human needs.
  5. A completely transparent external investigation into the Sheriff’s Office, District Attorney’s office, and Board of Supervisors regarding corruption, racial profiling and racially motivated water restriction ordinances that unfairly target the Hmong community.

The Hmong people are a close-knit community. California and Minnesota are the states with the largest population of Hmong people.