Bring justice to Sao Lue Vang, his Family, Friends and Loved Ones.
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Sao Lue Vang is 64 year-old Hmong-American veteran who fought alongside the United States CIA forces in the Secret War of Laos from 1964-1975. During that service, he achieved the rank of Lieutenant and received the Purple Heart among other accolades. In 1988, he and his family immigrated to the United States and settled in California. In 1993, he moved to Menomonie, WI. He has 10 children, all of them working citizens of Minnesota and Wisconsin. He is grandfather to over twenty grandchildren, many of whom he occasionally babysits and cares for. He is a naturalized citizen of the United States and a member of the Menomonie Hmong American Community. He is also an active member and volunteer at the Hmong Menomonie Alliance Church, where he spends several hours a week volunteering to do maintenance work such as vacuuming, mopping, sweeping and taking out the garbage. He participates regularly in fundraisers for his church.
On Wednesday afternoon, November 5, 2014, just as he has been doing for 19 years, Sao Lue Vang and two friends went hunting on public land in Pepin County, WI. A little over an hour upon arriving, while in the deep woods, Sao was approached by another hunter, later identified by Pepin County Sheriff as Kevin Elberg from Pepin, WI. According to Sao, Elberg started harassing, yelling, and accusing Sao for being on his property. Although Sao’s english speaking abilities are limited, he was able to understand what Elberg was saying. He politely apologized to Elberg for the misunderstanding. To which Elberg replied, “I don’t care”. The confrontation escalated. Fearing that Elberg would harm him, Sao radioed his hunting party and proceeded to walk away from Elberg. Sao is 5’3, 117 lbs. Elberg appeared to be in his early 40's, over 6 feet tall and weigh around 180 lbs. (the Leader Telegram newspaper later confirmed that Elberg had military background). Suddenly, from behind, Elberg struck Sao with enough force to knock him onto the ground. Elberg wrestled Sao for his walkie talkie while Sao continued to cry out for help. While on the ground and helpless, Sao was kicked and struck several more times in the stomach and body. Elberg then grabbed Sao’s rifle and struck him with it, causing lacerations and bleeding to his left hand. Sao pleaded for his life and continued to yell for help. Elberg put his hands over Sao’s mouth, causing him to gasp for air. Shortly after, Sao was unable to breathe and became unconscious.
A while later when Sao regained consciousness, he saw that Elberg had dragged him about 50 yards from the initial location of the encounter. He was now lying in the middle of the corn fields with Elberg’s boot pressed down on his stomach. Sao was experiencing excruciating pain, particularly in his abdomen. Sao cried for help again and Elberg continued to put his hands over his mouth to silence him. Shortly after, a woman, who was later identified as Elberg’s mother, drove up to them in a pick-up truck. Elberg's mother helped Sao onto the bed of the truck. Elberg then drove Sao out to the main road and where they met up with a law enforcement agent, as well as Elberg’s father and the other members of Sao’s hunting party. Sao was taken to a hospital in Wabasha and then later transported to Mayo Hospital where he was treated for his injuries. He suffered grade 4 liver lacerations and a left hand injury requiring multiple stitches. He was discharged on Friday, November 7, 2014. Due to his injuries, he has been bed ridden ever since and now requires a wheelchair for mobility.
To this day, Elberg has not been charged with any violation of Sao’s human rights. The family of Sao Lue Vang, the Hmong American Community of Menomonie, The Hmong Councils of Greater Wisconsin, the Hmong MidWest Hunters Association, and concerned citizens are still seeking justice for Sao Lue Vang. We urge the Pepin County District Attorney, Jon Seifert; Pepin County Sheriff John Andrews; and Menomonie Mayor Randy Knaak to bring justice for the Vang family and the Hmong American community.
With the permission and assistance of Sao Lue Vang's children, Tou Ger Bennett Xiong assisted in transcribing this story.
(Petition Organizer's input)
In addition; with this man being 64 years of age, what possible threat is he to do to a 40 year old healthy man who has military background? These injuries inflicted were avoidable AND unnecessary. Injuries through 'detaining' are of no excuse, especially to a 64 year old man. Confiscate his weapon for Mr. Elberg's safety measures was all that needed, not assaulting him afterwards. Please bring justice to whomever it deserve. Due to the family awaiting for 'justice', no charges pressed and investigation still undergoing, I had to create a petition to stand clear that there are more than just the family members, who are watching and awaiting, 'justice'.
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- Thank you, I'm sure the Family and friends of Sao Lue Vang greatly appreciates your time and effort. Maybe someday, we can all make it up and pay it forward for what you did today. Thank you and have a safe one, hopefully justice be served to whoever deserving. Keep posted.
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