If the backstory is to be believed, Anthony Promvongsa sounds like a pretty tough guy, maybe even a gang member, who was bold enough to go after an off-duty cop with whom he had some prior beef.
According to the criminal complaint, Promvongsa tailgated and accelerated at the car of an off-duty police officer, Colby Palmersheim, who had “prior police contacts” with Promvongsa.
Palmersheim reported that he drove to the location of another off-duty police officer, Mark Riley, and said that he “believed Promvongsa was attempting to harm him.”
Promvongsa allegedly drove between the two off-duty officers’ cars at high speed before pulling back up to their cars and telling them that “he was going to go get his boys and come back to get them,” according to the complaint.
Who says such a thing to cops, especially in Worthington, Minnesota? Palmersheim called it in, and Agent Joe Joswiak of the Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force responded. He came in hot; one very angry cop who was going to teach this guy a lesson about messing with his brother cops.
Joswiak quickly runs out of his car, instantly yells a series of expletives at Promvongsa and commands him to get out of the car right before kneeing and punching the driver.
Regardless of whatever emotions, hormones, steroids, whatever, might have been rushing through Joswiak as he ran to the car, he’s a cop. He doesn’t get to vent his feelz by the stupid, angry use of force. He doesn’t get to lose control, to punch and knee a person for the inability to violate the laws of physics by not getting out of a car when he’s strapped in with his seat belt. Then again, there stands to be a good chance that Joswiak was bent on tuning up Promvongsa no matter what, so the seat belt part likely had little to do with the lesson Joswiak was going to teach him.
And the ACLU, the White Knight in search of love, as reflected in its bank account, took up the cause.
The video shows some really outrageous conduct by Joe Joswiak, what that toxic mix of anger and authority produces. Of course, there is nothing in the video to explain what evoked such anger, but then, there is nothing to prove the allegations against Promvongsa other than the allegations of the off-duty officers. After a beating caught on video, stories are sometime crafted to explain it, and the details of, say, an otherwise pedestrian aggressive driving situation are exaggerated to make things appear far worse than they were.
But then, this video isn’t merely a revelation about Joe Joswiak’s fury and excessive force. This is a commercial soliciting donations for the cause. The ACLU is “calling for an investigation”? Wowie. An investigation! So bold.
But then, the problem isn’t presented as mere excessive force, as a cop gone wild. It’s about how People of Color are profiled and targeted by these angry hick cops.
Anthony is Laotian American.
So this means what? Had Anthony been WASP, Joswiak’s beating wouldn’t have been wrong, or it wouldn’t have caught the ACLU’s interest? Are Laotian Americans exempt from committing crimes and being arrested, even if they, like anyone else, are entitled not to be beaten in the process? Or seizing upon ethnicity, was the video crafted to play into the social justice mentality to evoke anger toward the cops in general, and Joswiak in particular, for his racism?
This is not the first time communities of color have felt profiled by police.
Are they suggesting that this was a random road stop based on profiling, Joswiak seeing a driver with brown skin and deciding, “hey, why not scream curses at this guy, punch and kick him because I have nothing better to do today?”
Anthony could face years in prison.
The insinuation is that he faces felonies, years in prison, just for being a Laotian American who has been profiled. How outrageous does it get? Who will save us from these meddlesome cops?
Joswiak has not been disciplined.
There’s a shocker, except that they chose the word “disciplined.” That’s a peculiar choice of words for someone who has done something so egregious. Based on what happened in the video alone, and even assuming there is some basis in fact for the allegations against Promvongsa, this excessive use of force was an assault. But if the insinuation in the video was even remotely accurate, then nothing short of prosecution would be appropriate. Yet, the ACLU only notes that he wasn’t “disciplined,” as in he lost a paid day off.
The ACLU is calling for an investigation into the incident.
Could they be any more tepid? No outrage? No demand for prosecution? No suit against Joswiak, the Worthington Police Department? An “investigation,” because the video is so unclear that they couldn’t possibly figure out whether anything bad happened without an investigation?
Then comes the money line:
Nobody deserves this treatment.
That’s true, nobody does. Not if they’re brown or lily white. Not if they’re from Laos or sixth generation St. Paul. Not if they’re a gangbanger or just a really lousy driver. Nobody deserves this treatment.
But who will be our White Knight to stop these racist cops who use excessive force, and nasty words, on profiled communities of color? Who will be brave enough to call for an investigation? Don’t people of color deserve a Savior to stand up for them?
And you know, Saviors don’t come cheap.
Joe Joswiak deserves to be prosecuted for beating Promvongsa, regardless of what Anthony did. But at least the video made for a great ACLU self-promotional commercial, so it wasn’t a total waste, even if the best the ACLU could muster was to “call for an investigation.” It’s not like their passionate fans would have a clue anyway.