Protesters call for charges against St. Paul police officer who killed Yia Xiong
ST. PAUL, Minn. – There are community calls for criminal charges against the St. Paul police officer who shot and killed a man last weekend.
Yia Xiong's family wept while people gathered in solidarity with them Sunday outside the apartment building where he was killed last weekend.
"My dad is a very kind person," said Mai Tong Xiong, Xiong's daughter. "He adored everybody."
Xiong's family says someone at a party in the building threatened Xiong with a gun. Police were called when residents say Xiong was threatening people with a knife.
RELATED: St. Paul police release body-worn camera footage of deadly shooting
Body camera video shows an officer kick the door open when Xiong tries to go inside, then another officer shoots Xiong as he comes forward still holding the knife.
"Cops are trained to be in high-stress situations," said Lasalu Yang, Xiong's son-in-law. "He didn't have to shoot my father-in-law."
Xiong's daughter says her father spoke limited English and was hard of hearing, thus making it difficult for him to follow officers' commands.
She hasn't been able to bring herself to watch the full video.
"Watching your loved one get murdered like that is very, very hard," Xiong said.
People at the vigil and a protest earlier in the day at the police precinct questioned why the officer had a gun when another next to him had a taser.
Activists also believe the police put themselves in danger by getting close to Xiong and keeping the door open.
"We want the officer to be fired and to face justice in court," said Snowdon Herr, a Hmong community organizer.
The two officers are currently on paid leave.
The president of the St. Paul police union says the shooting was justified and that the officers acted heroically in the face of grave danger.
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