The other night, we reported that Minnesota Vikings' defensive tackle Tom Johnson had been arrested at a steakhouse in the Twin Cities and charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct. Johnson's attorney has released a statement about what happened during the incident, and if that account of the incident is true, then it appears that Johnson isn't the one that has some explaining to do.
You can click on the pictures in the embedded Tweet there to read the whole thing if you'd like. Here's a quickie synopsis of the statement.
The statement says that Johnson was waiting in the lobby of Seven Steakhouse for his car to be brought by the valet. He was asked to leave for wearing boots (which seems ridiculous. . .seriously, did they think he was wearing different shoes when he got there), and he asked why he was the only person that was asked to leave among all the other people that were in the lobby.
At that point, he got pepper sprayed. Seems a bit excessive, but let's continue.
So, Johnson left the restaurant, after which another security person gave him something to wipe his eyes with (which Johnson tipped him for). Johnson then took out his cell phone, taking a photo of the officer who had pepper sprayed him and asking his name. He then went back outside and called a car service, as his eyes were still feeling the effects of the pepper spray.
At that point, the original security guard started demanding Johnson show him his ID. He refused. The cop then slapped Johnson's phone out of his hand, which caused it to break. Johnson then went to pick up his phone.
And that's when the taser came out. Multiple times.
The statement concludes like this:
It is clear via time-stamping of pictures and the video that the situation was clearly not a hostile one that required the excess use of force. Battery committed against Mr. Johnson by the off-duty police officers is a clear violation of Mr. Johnson's rights. We are continuing to investigate and will move forward with the proper legal actions once that process has concluded. We are confident that once the facts of the case are revealed Mr. Johnson will be fully exonerated.
If the timeline of the statement from Johnson's attorney is accurate. . .and if there are time-stamped photos and video, I'm not sure if there's a reason to think that it isn't. . .then Jon and Ponch have some explaining to do. The pepper spraying appears to be ridiculous as it was, and the tasering takes it to a level above ridiculous.
Here's that video, courtesy of TMZ. (Thanks for SirVikes23 for the link in the comments.)
In either case, it appears as though I owe Mr. Johnson an apology for jumping to conclusions about the incident in the original story that I posted about it. I automatically assumed that Johnson was in the wrong, and I should not have. So, if he happens to read this, I apologize for the error.
It should be interesting to see how this whole thing comes out. He is set to go to court on 17 October. If he is exonerated, expect to see an apology/retraction on page E35 of the Star-Tribune (right after the classified ads) and nothing from the same people who breathlessly reported that this was the Vikings' (insert arbitrary number here) arrest since (insert arbitrary point in time here).