Joe Joswiak’s Revenge

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.

53 thoughts on “Joe Joswiak’s Revenge

  1. B. McLeod

    Maybe they have used up their stock of “outrage” for the moment. If so, calling for an “investigation” seems like a nice start. Maybe the investigation will conclude that something in the video was not good, and they can move on to “outrage” at that point.

    1. SHG Post author

      Your point about Sgt. Gaul is well taken.

      But Joswiak isn’t the only one, even though his conduct was obviously out of line. We need to look at Gaul too. He’s a supervisor, and his conduct is what enables the Joswiaks of the world to beat up on suspects. In my view, Gaul’s conduct is worse, because as long as he covers up misconduct, it will continue.

      But is there only one “real problem”?

  2. Nick

    I like the lead-in sentence on the ACLU website: “In a heartbeat, Anthony Promvongsa’s sunny summer day in Worthington, Minnesota, turned from ordinary to a nightmare.”

    He was just having a nice, peaceful, relaxful sunny summer day, not driving around threatening cops or anything.

    There’s no defending what the cop did, but the ACLU’s spin on it is absolutely ridiculous.

    1. SHG Post author

      I totally presume him innocent, but that doesn’t mean I would fabricate a fantasy where he’s riding a unicorn on a rainbow. Unless, of course, road rage is his ordinary summer day.

  3. Frank

    Now imagine what will happen once the “Back The Blue Act of 2017” is signed into law.

    Getting a “tune up” will be the least of his worries when facing ten years at Club Fed.

    1. SHG Post author

      Bad as that might be, it still doesn’t make a beating acceptable. It’s not that hard to understand that two things can be wrong at the same time, is it? Or was this just your way of going off-topic while appearing not to stray too far?

      1. HB

        This post reminds me of an anecdote that isn’t even tangentially related to the post. May I relate this anecdote here?

        1. SHG Post author

          You can relate it, but if it doesn’t make me laugh or cry, or become a part of me, it gets trashed. No pressure.

  4. Farshid

    Hey dear white trash morons,

    I have a law degree and according to what I know, there is no clear statutory definition of police powers let alone such things as excessive use of force. Maybe if such things were federally or state codified, there wouldnt be such arguing and needless hen picking by morons like you. My theory is that you are all bunch of retards, and the founding fathers were satanic devil worshiping Freemasons who wanted to establish a one world government. Police state is the next thing on the to do list. Enjoy.

      1. rojas

        “Anyone who tells you money won’t buy you love, hell, they ain’t never been to Reno.”

  5. AJZ

    In a heartbeat, the ACLU’s day was ruined by a vicious attack by some random blogger. If the backstory exists, the blogger has a hard-on for the ACLU for some (almost-certainly cockamamie) reason.

    1. SHG Post author

      If you’re gonna say some random blogger has a “hard on for the ACLU for some (almost-certainly cockamamie) reason,” you really need to back it up or you’ve got nothing.

  6. Litch

    Dude, I don’t know what you have against the ACLU but you seem to be suffering under some serious delusions about them. Yes, they would still be involved in the victim was a white guy. As they have demonstrated repeatedly. Hell they have fucking defended unapologetic straight-up Nazis.

  7. Valerie

    Th is is just another stupid criminal that’s getting too much media attention. The defense will be that because Promvongsa stalked the off duty officer and made a show of aggression that the agessive actions of the officer taking thr call are justified.

    1. SHG Post author

      Or, two distinct things happened:

      1. Promvongsa engaged in improper, perhaps criminal, conduct, giving rise to a police response, and
      2. The responding officer, Joswiak, used excessive force and engaged in criminal conduct.

      Are two things one too many to wrap your head around? Unless you were a witness to the events, which seems remarkably unlikely, you are suffering from a psychotic delusion that you can make up whatever fantasy you like and it magically becomes real enough that you want to go on the internet and show the world that you are too stupid to exist. You accomplished your purpose, leaving one question unanswered. How does someone as stupid as you breathe?

    1. SHG Post author

      Try not to think of it as BLOCKED, but as Rule One’d. On the bright side, you’ve disproven Darwin.

  8. Anthony Galligani

    Not sure I see your point. If the ACLU defends people who get beat up by cops, why not use this to raise money?

    1. SHG Post author

      If that’s all you gleaned from this, then it’s unlikely you will ever see my point. You are exactly who the ACLU is trying to play, clueless, shallow and gullible. Now run, quick, and send them money so they can call for another investigation on the way to the bank.

      1. Anthony Galligani

        You’re right. I didn’t glean shit from your blog post. I guess that’s the fault of the reader? Way to cop out. Explains why you don’t write for the New Yorker I guess…LOL

        1. SHG Post author

          Sick burn, dude. On the bright side, readers who aren’t intellectually challenged had no trouble. Next time, I’ll use smaller words just for you.

        2. Miles

          Dude, this is a law blog. It’s not at all unusual that non-lawyers who are unfamiliar or unqualified to grasp issues at any depth find that posts fly over their heads. This one wasn’t hard to grasp at all for anyone even moderately familiar with the ACLU or your insipid characterization of what they do, and yet you’ve let your butthurt cloud whatever limited intellectual capacity you possess. Bummer.

          Suggestion: if you want to talk to grownups, particularly when you’re the stupidest guy in the room, don’t use LOL to make your point. Carry on.

          1. Anthony Galligani

            Wow. What a joyful bunch! I get it. You guys hate the ACLU. I’m just not seeing any actual point except some sort of cynicism that the ACLU exploits emotionally charged issues to raise money. Is that it? Tell me something I didn’t know. Is there some other point? Is the ACLU taking the public’s money and spending it on hookers and blow? Or maybe it’s “Don’t people of color deserve a Savior to stand up for them?” I guess that’s it: the implication that ACLU only also exploits people’s sympathy for “disadvantaged communities”. So? If that’s it I feel that you never explained it clearly. Maybe I just missed it the first time. But you could have tried a little harder. Being a lawyer, isn’t explaining things to the “stupid” people your job? You must not be very good at it. I can’t imagine being a client or sitting on a jury and being told I’m intellectually challenged when you fail to make your point would generate confidence in your lawyering. Meanwhile, people who are incapable of explaining themselves to the “stupidest guy in the room” are typically not very intelligent Or “Grown up”. Bummer. LOLOLOLOLOLOL (That’s for grownup Miles. Say hi to Fraser)

            1. SHG Post author

              I’m a sucker for tenacity, even if its prime motivation is infantile butthurt, and I have a few spare minutes now to show you a little attention.

              If you wanted to understand, here’s what you could have done: search here for ACLU and do some background reading. Maybe read this comprehensive post. What you do not get to do is expect it to be spoon fed to you because you lack any legal background and you’re too lazy to find it yourself.

              Yes, you’re intellectually challenged. While you are likely well-intended, meaning that your heart is in the right place, you approach this in a grossly simplistic binary fashion: good/bad, right/wrong. You’ve read one post here and assume, as lazy simpletons are wont to do, that you know all there is to know. That’s why others, like Miles, try to explain to you that you’re way out of your depth and would do well not to beclown yourself further. But that’s red meat to the butthurt.

              What you obviously don’t know if that not only do I, nor most criminal defense lawyers, not “hate” the ACLU, but we know the people who run the place fairly well, and we are in a constant struggle to keep them on mission rather than going anti-Constitution in the name of social justice. For the past few years, the ACLU has, in far too many instances, been the voice of authoritarianism, condemning constitutional rights because of their conflict with social justice issues. This is a very bad things, as constitutional rights given sacrificed for the “cause” are almost always lost forever.

              As for explaining things to the intellectually challenged, your problem is your narcissism and entitlement. No, you are not the center of the universe. Nobody gives a fuck about you, frankly, and it’s not worth a moment of a lawyer’s time to explain, or more accurately, argue with some sweet but clueless simpleton named Anthony Galligani who, being a sweet but stupid simpleton, believes he matters. He doesn’t. That’s where your attempt at thought goes awry. Nobody cares about you except you. This unfortunate truism eludes entitled simpletons. Perhaps this will help you to better understand why your ignorance doesn’t become other people’s problems.

              As for your lolol etc., when you grow up, you will understand. Until then, keep being you.

      2. Christopher Miller

        While I agree with what you’ve said, even if I’m going to be exploited, even if I was going to be abducted by aliens and anally probed for caring about what the ACLU is sharing, there is one very, very, important thing they did: they made me (and others) aware a yet another psychotic dirty scumbag pretending to be a cop.

        So, until you (or someone else) can point out a better [more effective] organization taking the first step (spreading awareness) against these dirty cops, we should be glad we have the ACLU, even if they’re far from perfect.

        1. SHG Post author

          A good point on a single data point. When they do something to undermine a constitutional right in conflict with their mission, they accomplish the opposite. By noting one data point, the others do not disappear. It’s like saying the cop who saved a cute kitty from a tree can kill an unarmed guy tomorrow but still deserves to be called, “Kitty Hero.”

          1. Christopher Miller

            It’s [the ACLU’s posting of this video] raising awareness of the issue at large.
            Sure, previously we knew there were some bad cops, but we just went on about our business (most of us). I think “gosh, that’s awful how unarmed black men keep getting murdered by police” but I don’t DO anything about it.

            Watching that video throws the issue in my face in a way that I can’t ignore it. It’s not just some statistic, when you see that video you can’t help but get a strong reaction if you are a thoughtful and reasonable person. I wrote a “review” and posted comments on the Worthington police Facebook page (as did many other people). What do you suggest would be a superior action to making a donation to the ACLU in response to being angry at this incident?

            I assume there are worse cases, and I imagine that for some police, in some areas, this kind of behavior is either normal, or almost normal.

            We have seen in the past, with some consistency, that victims trying to press criminal charges against these bad cops has not been effective. Victims have had some success in getting cash settlements, but obviously that has not been enough to affect significant change/remove the problem police officers.

            Have you contacted the ACLU with specific complaints about how they operate? What do you think they could do differently [which won’t reduce their effectiveness or fund raising ability]?

            1. SHG Post author

              I see where you’ve gone astray. This is a law blog. We are painfully well aware of the issues with which you are blissfully unaware. Perhaps being knowledgeable about such things makes us the outliers; certainly no one accused the masses of being too knowledgeable. So you’ve assume your ignorance to be the norm. You’re probably right about that, but for that reason, it’s not relevant to what this post is about.

              There’s no need to “contact the ACLU,” Christopher. We know each other. We’re all friends. They read SJ because they are knowledgeable, as opposed to you. And they know exactly what my (and many other lawyers’) issues are with them. And they know very well that they’ve forsaken their mission for money and feelz.

              This may be all new and shiny to you, Christopher, but that’s merely a reflection of how ignorant you are, not of the problem. You are exactly the gullible, clueless, easily manipulated, convenient fool they hope to suck in, and they’ve obviously accomplished their goal. I can afford to be honest with you because I want nothing of you. You can choose to understand it or not.

            2. Miles

              You remind me of the guy who missed TV shows during the regular season, watches them on summer reruns and acts as if they’re brand new because they’re new to him.

              You’ve had the opportunity to read the links, learn what you don’t know, see the problems. Instead, you argue that your one thing, which is somewhat good (though not nearly as much as you think, but then, you just don’t know any better) rather than learn so that you have a reasonably informed opinion.

              You see one thing the ACLU has done, and extrapolate from that. At the same time, you know nothing about the damage it’s done with its anti-constitutional positions over the past few years. It did one thing that’s good for you, only because you didn’t know? Yay, ACLU! But don’t expect those of us who do know to cheer with you. We can’t take comfort in not knowing the harm they do.

    1. SHG Post author

      Ordinarily, your comment would be trashed like those who call forJoswiak’s death, none of which reflect anything more than the existence of flaming nutjobs on the internet. I decided to post yours just so people would realize that the psychosis goes beyond being a Joswiak apologist for his conduct into the complete insanity of calling him a hero. You aren’t the usual run-of-the-mill blithering idiot. You are as batshit crazy as it gets.

      1. LocoYokel

        Or he’s being extremely sarcastic, which is how I would have taken it as that is very similar in appearance to my style of sarcasm. Although a few more words to flesh it out and make the attempt clearer would have been better.

        Don’t bother posting this, it’s really just for you, unless you really want to.

        1. SHG Post author

          That’s always possible, but as I’ve explained before, when it’s someone’s first comment, how the hell would I (or anyone else) know if it was serious or sarcastic? It’s one thing to be sarcastic when you’re views are somewhat known, but blind?

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  10. Elen

    I am neither an attorney nor a LEO.
    I saw the video and read the exact same stories across multiple sources.
    I landed here trying to learn more about the officers involved and the young man who was beaten/arrested.
    I don’t know much more but somehow feel enlightened!

Comments are closed.