Enhanced police presence at Hmong Freedom Festival after threats

Threats have allegedly been made via flyers and on social media.
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Police in St. Paul are promising a "robust" presence at the Hmong Freedom Festival this weekend after alleged threats of violence were reported.

St. Paul police leaders held a press conference on Wednesday to address the potential for violence at annual celebration, after a 19-year-old man was shot and killed during last year's event.

There have been reported threats made about this year's event on social media, while KARE 11 reports there has been flyers posted on a small number of cars apparently suggesting there would be revenge for last year's shooting.

Speaking at the press conference, St. Paul Police Commander Shari Falkowski said there would be a "very robust police presence" at the event, which would be a mixture of uniformed and plain-clothed officers.

The threats, she said, are coming from a "small group of people" and are being taken seriously.

"While we know that the vast majority of the people planning to attend the event are going to enjoy a great cultural experience with food, competition and fun, that’s why we're not going to let a small group of people ruin it for everyone," she added.

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Police are urging Twin Cities residents to not be deterred from attending the event, which is organized by the United Hmong Family Inc. and is in its 39th year.

The event will include soccer, football, volleyball, tujlub and takraw tournaments, as well as singing, dancing, food booths and a beer garden.

You can find more information about this year's event, which is being held at McMurray Fields in St. Paul, by clicking here.

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