Public forum on policing takes place this Sunday
WORTHINGTON -- A public forum this Sunday will address community concerns about policing in the city of Worthington. The meeting, which will take place at 2 p.m. at St. Mary's Catholic Church, is meant to give residents the opportunity to ask que...
WORTHINGTON - A public forum this Sunday will address community concerns about policing in the city of Worthington.
The meeting, which will take place at 2 p.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, is meant to give residents the opportunity to ask questions, express concerns, voice support and request action to a panel of city and area leaders.
In addition to city leaders, U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, D-Mankato, will be attending the forum, as well as District 22B Rep. Rod Hamilton, R- Mountain Lake.
The event was planned by the Worthington Immigrant Task Force, a group of community leaders that have brought their focus toward bridging the gap between the Worthington Police Department and the city’s many minority communities.
The group has 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 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. We don’t want yelling and screaming and accusations - we want people to be able to express themselves and be heard.”
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 their thoughts, as well as ask questions about specifics of the incident or general police procedures. Members of the leadership panel will also make statements and answer questions.
The event’s organizers hope to use the results of the event to form a course of action, with a community commission on police accountability being one popular idea.
Translators will be available. All are invited to attend.