From [TheGlobe] The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Minnesota filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Worthington Police Department, Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force and city of Worthington, along with individual officers involved in a July 2016 traffic stop in which Worthington resident Anthony Promvongsa was allegedly assaulted by Task Force Agent Joe Joswiak while WPD Officer Tim Gaul stood by.
The suit alleges the city and its police department did not enforce their excessive force policies, did not properly document incidents of force, did not properly investigate allegations of excessive force and generally engaged "in a policy, pattern of practice, or custom of failing to reprimand or discipline any officer for excessive force."
Worthington Mayor Mike Kuhle responded Wednesday to those allegations.
"We have commissioned an independent investigation and report and it is due in the next two weeks," he said. "I think it’s very unfortunate that the ACLU has chosen to file a lawsuit ahead of the city being able to review the independent investigation and giving the city a chance to respond to that report.
"The city of Worthington and the police department does have a use of force policy and it is taken seriously," Kuhle added.
The incident was recorded by Joswiak's dashcam. Footage, which depicts Joswiak pulling a gun on Promvongsa before punching and kneeing him, was obtained by the ACLU and released in June. Before even greeting the man the video shows the white cop opening the door of the car. The cop then yells “Get the fuck out of the car, motherfucker!”. Before Anthony can comply within a second the cop punches and knees him repeatedly before another officer assists in pulling him out of the car, putting him face down on the road and handcuffing him.
According the ACLU, the white cop initially claimed Anthony refused his order to leave his car, but the video contradicts this assertion. "Instead it shows a textbook case of excessive force.” [MORE]
In August, Promvongsa pleaded guilty to fifth-degree assault with intent to cause fear in August, admitting he drove recklessly by driving in close proximity to a police officer. That officer, according to a police report, called dispatch to report the reckless driving. That's when Joswiak began looking for Promvongsa, and eventually pulled him over.
ACLU Attorney Ian Bratlie said Joswiak and Gaul weren't involved with the original incident, as charges that Promvongsa swerved his car at Joswiak were dropped during his plea agreement.
"Regardless, if you're alleging the police can beat up anybody for traffic violations, you're nuts," Bratlie said. "People should not be attacked for traffic violations, and there's certainly no reason for anybody to think the police had any authority to do what they did — they didn't. There's no justifying Officer Joswiak's actions."
Bratlie said Gaul had been charged on prior occasions with excessive force. Based on conversations with officials and community members, Bratlie added, Joswiak's history of excessive force "wasn't exactly a secret."