Minneapolis reaches $700K settlement with family detained while police killed father
The city of Minneapolis reached a settlement in a lawsuit over claims of unlawful arrest for $700,000. A family alleges Minneapolis police detained them during the police shooting and killing of their father, 52-year-old Chiasher Vue.
A federal judge ruled police were justified in their split-second decision to shoot Vue after he pointed a rifle at them in December 2019.
The law firm representing the family says the settlement marks the largest unlawful witness detention case in the state of Minnesota. While the settlement puts an end to the case, Chiasher Vue’s daughter, Chamee Vue, said it doesn’t stop the hurt.
“He was pretty much the big, bright light to the family,” Chamee Vue said of her father.
Chamee Vue recalls the tragic day she witnessed a barrage of bullets that ultimately killed her dad. She told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS on the night of Dec. 15, 2019, a heated argument during dinner led to Chiasher Vue firing multiple gunshots. One of Chiasher Vue’s sons called 911. When officers arrived, Chamee Vue said cops told her and her siblings to go inside two squad cars.
Chamee Vue’s siblings tried to intervene but were not allowed out of the police cars. She said they were locked in the back of the unheated patrol cars for over five hours, forced to hear radio traffic of the event and the multiple gunfires that took their father’s life.
Investigators say Chiasher Vue came out of a home pointing a rifle at officers and refused to surrender to police. He and the officers quickly exchanged gunfire. Investigators weren’t able to determine who fired first, but Chiasher Vue had been shot 13 times.
“We sat in an interrogation room for over five hours before somebody even came in to have a conversation with us,” Chamee Vue said.
She added that the family wasn’t told their dad had died until hours after the shooting. An autopsy later determined that Chiasher Vue had a blood-alcohol level of 0.20 at the time he was killed.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is in charge of investigating police shootings and told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the Vue family did not file a formal complaint with them in connection to the case.
“The BCA asks anyone who witnessed an incident we are investigating to voluntarily interview with our agents. We understand officer use-of-force incidents can be especially traumatic to witness,” the agency said in a statement. “We routinely wait several days to speak with witnesses until they feel they are ready to speak to our agents. As is true for any law enforcement agency, a person who is not charged with a crime or being held on probable cause is free to go at any time.”
Since the incident, Minneapolis police have changed their policy on how to handle witnesses. MPD spokesperson Brian Feintech said the change “was not a term of the settlement.” He said MPD continually reviews and updates policies.
“The revision of the policy was done to provide more clarity to officers when dealing with individuals who were witnesses to crime but not involved in criminal behavior. The updated policy addresses the challenging balance of fulfilling the duty to protect individuals and protecting their rights with the public safety duty of protecting the public,” Feintech said. “Under the updated policy, witnesses cannot be detained solely because they are a witness to a crime; however, they could be detained, for example, if their conduct may increase the likelihood of death or serious bodily harm to other witnesses or individuals,” stated Feintech.
While Chamee Vue said the settlement won’t undo her pain, she hopes her story will help people understand their rights.
“Especially with the Hmong community, with a lot of the elders who doesn’t understand the law or their constitutional rights here in the U.S.,” she said.