Jason Andersen, the police officer who shot and killed Fong Lee (pictured), has been fired by the Minneapolis Police Department. The development comes after the fourth-year officer was arrested following a domestic disturbance in June. A criminal charge against Anderson was dismissed two weeks ago, but apparently the incident prompted an internal affairs investigation that led to his dismissal.
In May a federal jury ruled that Anderson did not use excessive force when he shot the 19-year-old North Minneapolis resident eight times following a foot chase in July 2006. Lee’s family had maintained in the civil lawsuit that he was unarmed and gunned down for no justifiable reason.
The Minneapolis Police Federation is not happy about Anderson’s firing. The organization’s vice president, Lt. Bob Kroll, told the Pioneer Press that Anderson is being unfairly retaliated against and that the union has already discussed the matter with an attorney. Kroll described Anderson as a “good, hard-nosed street cop.”
“In the current administration that’s not tolerated,” he told reporter David Hanners. “They don’t want big, tough street cops. They feel he got them negative press over Fong Lee, so they’re going to make him pay.”
Others are saluting the development, however. TakeAction Minnesota released a statement praising Andersen’s dismissal. The organization is also calling on the MPD to hire more minority officers and appoint a Hmong community liaison to prevent future incidents.
“The Hmong community is relieved that Officer Jason Anderson has been fired from the Minneapolis Police Department, apparently as a result of an internal investigation,” reads the statement from Dai Thao and Amee Xiong, who oversee TakeAction Minnesota’s Hmong organizing program. “Since Fong Lee’s shooting death in July 2006, the Hmong community has been fearful of the Minneapolis Police – the very people who are supposed to protect us. That is why since Fong Lee’s death, our community has been united in working to bring significant change to the Minneapolis Police Department so this kind of thing doesn’t happen to anyone in our community again.”
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