Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Hmong pot farmer shot and killed by Siskiyou County law enforcement amidst fire evacuation

I blogged yesterday about the "officer involved shooting" of a white teen in Arkansas.  Another incident of law enforcement killing a person in a rural setting is in the headlines today, this one out of Siskiyou County, California, population 44,900.  The Siskiyou sheriff's department said the man pointed a gun at officers.  Here's an excerpt from the Sacramento Bee's coverage:    

Four officers shot and killed a man after he fired a gun at them as they tried to stop a vehicle at the entrance to a large complex of cannabis farms under evacuation Monday evening from the 13,330-acre Lava Fire in Siskiyou County, the sheriff said Tuesday.

The officers tried to stop a man at the Mount Shasta Vista subdivision after the fire crossed Highway 97 north of Weed, Sheriff Jeremiah LaRue said. The 1,641-lot subdivision has been converted into a massive network of marijuana grows run primarily by Hmong families.  [The man shot and killed by officers was Hmong]

“They made contact with the driver. And at some point, the driver exhibited a firearm, a handgun, and pointed it at the officers,” LaRue told The Sacramento Bee.

The eyewitness report of a firefighter at the scene seems to contradict the law enforcement account. A resident who lived near the shooting said he heard about 60 rounds fired.  And here's more context from the Bee report:
The shooting comes in the wake of the sheriff’s office aggressively enforcing local ordinances seeking to eliminate the massive proliferation of marijuana farms in the rural county along the Oregon border. Siskiyou County has banned large-scale cannabis cultivation.
* * *
The growers, most of them of Hmong and Chinese descent, have accused local authorities of racial discrimination, and they’re pursuing a federal civil rights lawsuit.

The county disputes that their crackdown has been racially motivated, citing a rise of violent crime and unsafe living conditions inside the grows.

A recent post about the marijuana business in the area is here, based on a New York Times feature on nearby Weed, California.    

The Etna Police Department has reported that its officers were involved in the incident.  Etna, population 737, is west of !-5, but their officers had been east of I-5--an hour's drive from home--assisting with fire evacuation and other related public safety needs.   

1 comment:

charles said...
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