Shocking dashcam footage released today by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Minnesota shows a police officer brutally attacking a Laotian American man during a traffic stop last summer in Worthington, Minnesota. The ACLU says that the assault was both unconstitutional and excessively violent, and that “[p]eople should not fear that they could be attacked by the police for no reason or while being detained for investigative purposes.”
In the dashcam video (after the jump) which was captured by a second officer at the scene, Anthony Promvongsa (who was 21 at the time of the incident) is seen in the driver’s seat of his parked vehicle when Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force Agent Joe Joswiak (who was off-duty at the time of the incident) approaches the car door with his gun drawn. Joswiak is heard profanely ordering Promvongsa to exit the vehicle. Immediately upon reaching the car door, Joswiak flings it open and begins forcibly pulling Promvongsa from the vehicle. Joswiak appears to knee and punch Promvongsa several times as he forces him to the pavement and handcuffs him. Midway through the video, another uniformed officer — Sgt. Tim Gaul — is also seen inexplicably turning off the audio of the recording dashcam, leaving no record of the verbal exchange between the police and Promvongsa for the remainder of the arrest.
Now, Promvongsa is facing several criminal charges stemming from the traffic stop while Joswiak does not appear to have any sanction for his obvious use of excessive force. The incident took place on July 28, 2016 — just three weeks after Philando Castile was shot and killed in St. Anthony, Minnesota last year by a police officer during a routine traffic stop.
Earlier this year, I named the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) one of my Giving Tuesday Top 5 organizations for their tireless advocacy around racial justice and women’s rights. NAPAWF has been at the forefront of many key issues relevant to the the AANHPI community, chief among them reproductive rights. For years, NAPAWF has engaged in a state-by-state fight to protect our reprodictive rights (which is of particular importance for the AANHPI community) in part by challenging conservative efforts to rollback abortion access with overtly race-baiting bans on abortions if doctors find that the procedure is sought for reasons such as fetal sex. Despite the lack of any evidence that women are seeking such abortions in any significant numbers, these restrictions are passed on the basis of stereotyping of Black, Asian and immigrant parents as immoral and sexist. Further, these racist laws have received scant commentary or criticism from mainstream media or center-aisle Democrats.
Two years ago, NAPAWF joined forces with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to file a lawsuit challenging one particularly vile and racist abortion ban in Arizona, which is noteworthy for its unusually explicit fear-mongering of Black and Asian women during debate that preceded passage of this as the first bill to ban race-selective abortion in addition to sex-selective abortion.
This is why we need to protect the separation between church and state, and keep religion out of public schools.
The ACLU took a Louisiana school to court earlier this year after Negreet High school science teacher, Rita Roark, repeatedly denigrated the religious faith of a Buddhist student of Thai descent, calling both Buddhism and Hinduism “stupid”. One incident occurred after the student — identified as C.C. in the lawsuit — refused to answer Ms. Roark’s test question: “ISN’T IT AMAZING WHAT THE _____________ HAS MADE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
According to Ms. Roark, the right answer was “Lord”, and she requires all her students to answer “correctly” for test credit. She marked the question incorrect and publicly shamed C.C. when he first failed to answer the question, and then when he attempted to answer the question with “Lord Boda [sic]” — a reference to his Buddhist faith — when it appeared on a second exam.
In both incidents, Ms. Roark proclaimed it “stupid” to not fill in a reference to the Christian God, and encouraged her students to also verbally humiliate C.C. for not doing so.
Since 2001, Reappropriate has been the web's foremost Asian American activism, identity, feminism, and pop culture blog!