WASHINGTON — Dashcam footage released Thursday by the American Civil Liberties Union shows Minnesota police violently arresting a 22-year-old Asian man after a traffic stop last year.
In the video from July 28, 2016, an officer the ACLU identified as Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force Agent Joe Joswiak approaches Anthony Promvongsa’s vehicle with his weapon drawn.
Joswiak can be heard shouting a stream of expletives at Promvongsa.
Note: The video below contains violence and explicit language. The traffic stop begins around the 1:35 mark.
“Get the fuck out of the car, motherfucker!” Joswiak yells in the video. “Show me your fucking hands!”
Moments later, Joswiak can be seen opening the driver-side door and attempting to pull Promvongsa from the vehicle, without success. He then begins kneeing and punching Promvongsa, then drags him from the vehicle and throws him to the ground. Promvongsa’s face can be seen hitting the pavement.
The ACLU has called for an investigation into what it called a “brutal attack.” The organization says the officer didn’t give Promvongsa enough time to obey his orders.
“Agent Joswiak’s use of force against Anthony Promvongsa is disturbing and completely unnecessary,” Teresa Nelson, executive director of the ACLU of Minnesota, said in a statement. “Thus far Agent Joswiak has received no punishment for this abhorrent treatment of Anthony. This sends a message that the department condones the officer’s behavior, which it should not.”
In a joint statement on Thursday, the Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force, Worthington Police Department and the Nobles County Attorney’s Office said the video “is one piece of evidence in a pending criminal case.”
“The video, viewed in a vacuum, shows only a short segment of the incident that is the basis of the criminal charges,” the statement read. “Our agencies ask that the media and the public remain patient as the criminal case progresses accordingly.”
Charges against Promvongsa include two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon (a motor vehicle), one count of fleeing an officer in a motor vehicle, possession of a small amount of marijuana, and driving after revocation, according to police.
The Minnesota Star Tribune reported Thursday that a criminal complaint alleges Promvongsa provoked a road-rage encounter the day of his arrest. The complaint, the newspaper said, accuses Promvongsa of “several aggressive acts toward the car of an off-duty Worthington police officer, including tailgating, swerving, making hand gestures out the window and closing in at a high rate of speed before stopping just short of the officer’s vehicle.”
That off-duty officer met up with a fellow off-duty officer, at which point Promvongsa allegedly sped between the two officer’s vehicles and yelled out the window that he was “going to get his boys and come back to get them,” the Star Tribune reported, citing the complaint.
Later, Joswiak and Sgt. Tim Gaul reportedly located Promvongsa and successfully pulled him over, but he ignored the officers’ orders, the complaint said, according to the Star Tribune.
“Joswiak delivered several knee strikes to Promvongsa in an attempt to gain control of him but Promvongsa continued to resist getting out of his vehicle,” the complaint states, according to KARE 11 News.
The complaint also states Joswiak threw a single punch before handcuffing the suspect, the Star Tribune reported.
The video released by the ACLU, however, shows Joswiak throwing at least four punches.
In a statement accompanying the ACLU release, Promvongsa said he had “no idea what was going on when I was approached and attacked” by Joswiak.
“I did not even have the opportunity to take off my seatbelt before I was literally blindsided with this unnecessary attack,” he said. “I immediately pulled over for the Worthington squad car and before I knew what was happening I was beat and ripped from my vehicle.”
“I know I am not the first person to have this type of traumatic experience with law enforcement in Worthington,” he added. “This type of violence with community members has to stop. This encounter was demoralizing and has left me scared of future interactions with the police.”
Promvongsa is currently awaiting a trial date.
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