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Forum on policing set Sunday in Worthington following violent beating

WORTHINGTON, Minn. — A public forum this Sunday, July 9, will address community concerns about policing in the city of Worthington.

The 2 p.m. meeting at St. Mary's Catholic Church will give residents an opportunity to ask questions, express concerns, voice support and request action to a panel of city and area leaders.

U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., and District 22B Rep. Rod Hamilton, R-Mountain Lake, will be attending the forum in addition to city leaders.

The event was planned by the Worthington Immigrant Task Force, a group of community leaders that is focusing on bridging the gap between the Worthington Police Department and the city's many minority communities.

The group called for action after the ACLU published dashcam footage showing Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force Agent Joe Joswiak violently beating Worthington resident Anthony Promvongsa after recently pulling his car over.

"There's so many stories coming forward from the immigrant community, that this isn't the only time something like this has happened in Worthington," said Immigrant Task Force member Lisa Kremer, referring to the video. "We felt it was time to open up a forum so people can have that face-to-face conversation, and to have some figures of authority in our community present to hear those stories and hopefully respond to what people are telling them.

"And to do it in a respectful way," she said. "We don't want yelling and screaming and accusations — we want people to be able to express themselves and be heard."

The Rev. Jim Callahan of St. Mary's Catholic Church and Aida Simon, bilingual program aide at the Nobles County Integration Collaborative, will moderate the event.

The forum will begin with a short video from Worthington High School students about their experiences with police.

Afterward, participants can comment on their experiences and thoughts, and ask questions about specifics of the incident or general police procedures. Members of the leadership panel will also make statements and answer questions.