St. Paul police officer Tou Mo Cha resigned from the department Tuesday after pleading guilty to lending out his service pistol, which was then used in April to shoot up the Maplewood home of a Hmong leader.
Standing before Ramsey County District Judge Ed Cleary, Tou Cha, 36, said he lent his .40-caliber Glock semi-automatic pistol to Hmong businessman Chue Chou Tchang after Tchang threatened him and his family.
Tou Cha told St. Paul police that Tchang wanted to scare the Hmong leader, Xang Vang, according to a press release issued by the Ramsey County attorney’s office.
Tchang has denied the allegations.
Both Tchang and Xang Vang are allies of Gen. Vang Pao, the Hmong leader who led the CIA’s secret war in Laos in the 1960s and 1970s. Xang Vang, who has served as the general’s interpreter and is a Laotian war veteran, is active in Republican politics. He helped organize the Hmong on behalf of President George W. Bush’s campaign last fall.
Ballistics tests confirmed that a bullet casing recovered from Xang Vang’s house had been fired from Tou Cha’s weapon. The house was fired upon at least five times, but no one was injured.
After his arrest in May, Tou Cha gave a statement to police that included detailed allegations of corruption at St. Paul City Hall. On Friday, Police Chief John Harrington decided to turn that part of Tou Cha’s case over to the FBI.
Harrington’s decision came a day after the Star Tribune published Tou Cha’s confidential statement, which alleged that a prominent Hmong businessman told him that for $10,000 to $20,000 he could influence city officials regarding a liquor license for a Frogtown nightclub that Tou Cha co-owned.