Settlement reached in ACLU/Promvongsa case

WORTHINGTON - The City of Worthington, Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force and League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust have reached a settlement with Worthington resident Anthony Promvongsa in a case regarding excessive force used during an encounter with law enforcement in July of 2016.

Promvongsa, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, was seeking $500,000 plus costs and attorney fees, but agreed this week to accept $60,000 for full and final settlement after a day-long federal court ordered settlement conference. There was no admission of liability on the city's part, and according to a statement from the city of Worthington,  an independent investigator found no violation of department policies, which were consistent with Minnesota law, when evaluating the use of force to arrest Promvongsa.

In the initial complaint, Promvongsa claimed he was driving to an orientation to get his GED when he was stopped. Video from the arrest shows an officer pulling him from the vehicle after kneeing him several times. A criminal complaint filed against Promvonga at the time alleges he pulled up behind an off-duty officer's vehicle, tailgated and made threatening gestures. He pleaded guilty to charges of fifth-degree assault and driving after revocation. Before the case was settled, the body camera video that was evidence in the case was sent to the ACLU, who released portions of the video of the arrest.

The statement issued by the city states, " Given the costs the City would have incurred proceeding with motion practice and trial, resolving this matter for $60,000 was a good risk-management decision that brought finality to the case and was in the best interests of all parties involved."

The settlement also involves the addition of de-escalation and felony-stop training beyond POST Board mandated minimums, as well as improvements and considerations for the use-of-force reporting procedures by officers, citizen complaint procedures, and the department’s use-of-force policy.

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