Family outraged at medals for police after raiding wrong home, opening fire


RODRIGO ZAMITH / Star Tribune | July 30, 2008

COMMENT: This is anything but an example of police bravery.

First, the city apologized. Then it gave awards.

Eight Minneapolis officers received medals in City Hall Monday for their valor in a botched raid that the city apologized for last year. That isn’t sitting well with the family shot at multiple times by the officers.

“I’m shocked that they’re receiving awards for that night,” said Yee Moua. “My family is a mess right now. My [9-year-old] son, who saw the shooting, still has nightmares and has needed therapy. They’ve ruined a life, and I don’t understand why they would get rewarded for that.”

The awards stemmed from a high-risk search in December. The eight officers — who had SWAT training — entered the house expecting to find a violent gang member. Instead, they found Vang Khang, a 35-year-old homeowner who thought he was being robbed. Khang shot through his bedroom door at the officers until he understood who they were.

In the midst of the shootout were Moua, who is Khang’s wife, and their six children, who range in age from 3 to 15. Moua said her family has since abandoned the house and can no longer afford to keep it.

Minneapolis police spokesman Sgt. William Palmer said Tuesday the department has acknowledged the raid was a mistake and has apologized to the family. But he said the officers “performed very bravely under gunfire and made smart decisions.”

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