See more of the story

Three St. Paul City Council members on Friday condemned prosecutors' decision not to file charges against the police officer who shot and killed 65-year-old Yia Xiong last year.

In a statement, Council President Mitra Jalali and Council Members Nelsie Yang and Anika Bowie said they are "deeply disturbed and saddened by the lack of justice for Mr. Xiong and his family."

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and Ramsey County Attorney John Choi announced Wednesday that they determined St. Paul officer Abdirahmin Dahir's use of deadly force against Xiong, who was wielding a knife at the time, was justified.

Echoing community members who have called for charges over the past year, Jalali, Yang and Bowie in their statement said that Xiong, who was Hmong, had difficulty hearing and did not speak English. The council members are calling for a review of the Police Department's cultural competency and language training practices.

On Feb. 11, 2023, officers responded to a 911 call saying Xiong entered a toddler's private birthday celebration in an apartment building party room and offered money to children before being asked to leave, according to a 39-page memorandum released Wednesday. The caller said Xiong later returned with a knife and threatened the caller's adult son.

Police body camera footage shows officers entering the complex, with one person yelling, "Please, hurry." The officers followed Xiong as he entered his apartment, closing the door behind him. After officer Noushue Cha pushed the door open, Xiong walked out of the apartment into the hall holding a 12-inch knife. Dahir then fired his gun and Cha deployed his Taser.

In a joint statement Friday, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter and Police Chief Axel Henry said they mourn the loss of Xiong and "hold in our hearts his relatives and friends, as well as every community member and officer impacted by this tragedy."

"As the men and women of the St. Paul Police Department stand up to respond to dangerous and dynamic situations on all of our behalf, we remain committed to the deep work of healing from this specific incident, and partnering with law enforcement and community partners alike to reduce encounters such as these, which place both public and officer safety at risk."

The council members called on the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to release "full unedited body camera footage" of the killing. Police released footage from both officers' cameras six days after the shooting with witnesses' faces blurred out.

Jalali, Yang and Bowie said they will look to appoint those affected by police violence to the city's Police Civilian Internal Affairs Review Commission, which reviews investigations and makes recommendations to the police chief.

They also said the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training should fill its vacant standards coordinator role with someone specializing in cultural competency.

Staff writer Louis Krauss contributed to this report.