Last December, I posted about a botched SWAT raid on an innocent Minnesota family. Acting on bad information from an informant, the police threw flash grenades though the family’s windows, then exchanged gunfire with Vang Khang, who mistook the police for criminal intruders. Seven months later, no one in the police department has been held accountable for the mistakes leading up to the raid.
However, this week Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan and Mayor R.T. Rybak did give the raiding officers medals and commendations for their bravery in nearly killing Vang Khang, his wife, and their six children.
Said Chief Dolan while handing out the hardware:
"The easy decision would have been to retreat under covering fire. The team did not take the easy way out," Dolan told the crowd. "This is a perfect example of a situation that could have gone horribly wrong, but did not because of the professionalism with which it was handled."
This is really beyond outrage. The city of Minneapolis is commending and rewarding its police officers for firing their weapons at innocent people. A family of eight was terrorized, assaulted, and nearly killed, and it’s the "perfect example" of a situation that could have gone wrong?
It’s not the first time this kind of thing has happened, either. In November 2006, a Baltimore County, Maryland police officer was given an award for shooting Cheryl Lynn Noel, a mother of two gunned down in her nightgown when she grabbed a gun after mistaking the raiding police officers for criminal intruders. The officer then shot Noel a second time from point blank range. That award came shortly after the Noel family filed a civil suit against Baltimore County.
MORE: Listen to the 911 call from Khang’s wife here. Note how long it takes for the police to finally identify themselves.