After two days of seeing headlines about the arrest of Tom Johnson, the agency that represents the Vikings defensive tackle went on the offensive.
Police used pepper spray and a Taser to subdue the 288-pound lineman early Sunday morning outside the Minneapolis nightclub Seven.
But Johnson and his agent say the police acted inappropriately, and released a video from Johnson’s cellphone showing a uniformed officer slapping away the phone, while Johnson claimed he was calm and cooperative.
Johnson, 30, was cited for disorderly conduct and trespassing at Seven. He was briefly jailed and released on $78 bond.
“For me, I just feel like people in authority should be accountable,” Johnson said Tuesday at Vikings practice. “If they do something negligent, they should be accountable just like anyone else.”
Minneapolis police spokesman John Elder said Tuesday that authorities were working on obtaining surveillance footage of the incident, but that it “would be inappropriate” to comment further.
International Sports Agency, which represents Johnson, released a video Tuesday afternoon that it said was taken with Johnson’s cellphone. The video first appeared on TMZ.com, then was released to local media.
Bardia Ghahremani, Johnson’s agent, also released a statement defending Johnson.
The statement said Johnson was not under the influence of alcohol and was waiting for a valet to deliver his vehicle to him around 2 a.m. Security personnel told him to leave because he was wearing boots — the same boots he had worn in the club minutes earlier, according to the statement.
The statement said off-duty police officers, who were working at Seven, yelled at Johnson to leave the lobby. Johnson asked why he was the only one who had to leave and, as he was exiting, was pepper-sprayed, the statement read.
Johnson called a car service to pick him up because his vision was impaired by the pepper spray, the statement continued, when the officer who pepper-sprayed him came out of Seven. Johnson videotaped an officer knocking his cellphone out of Johnson’s hand.
The statement says as Johnson reached for his phone, the officer used a Taser “multiple times.”
The statement concludes the “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.”
In the 13-second video clip, Johnson asked the officer, “Do you feel good about it?” One officer then asked Johnson if he had identification. Johnson replied he did. Asked to provide it, Johnson declined and said he had done nothing wrong. The officer then swatted at the phone. Johnson is scheduled to appear in court Oct. 17.
According to the police report, Johnson was told after closing time to leave Seven “repeatedly by security and officers and [he] refused.” In response to his resisting officers, Johnson “was sprayed with department-issue chemical irritants and forced outside.” He continued to be uncooperative with officers outside, prompting police to use a Taser on him, according to the police report.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said the arrest shouldn’t impact Johnson’s status for Sunday’s game against Detroit at TCF Bank Stadium.
“I’ve talked to him and we are still collecting facts and we will leave it at that as we go,” Zimmer said.
Staff writers Master Tesfatsion and Chris Miller contributed to this story.