Activist Al Flowers alleges Minneapolis cops beat him up during arrest
Al Flowers's mugshot
Just after midnight Saturday morning, Minneapolis cops showed up at longtime community activist Al Flowers's South Side residence. Officers said they had a warrant to arrest his teenage daughter.
Exactly what happened next remains the subject of controversy, but in any event, as the photo at the top of this post indicates, the ensuing altercation left Flowers, 55, bloody and behind bars.
A Facebook page promoting a protest of Flowers's treatment scheduled for Wednesday says, "When Al asked to see the warrant -- as is his right -- he was viciously beaten by police, and then dragged off to jail."
"People should be aware that Al was already handcuffed when he was beaten," the post continues. "He was hurt so badly that the jail refused to accept him and he was taken to the hospital with broken bones, a concussion, contusions and lacerations. After treatment, he was taken to jail on phony charges to cover for what the cops did to him."
We contacted the MPD to obtain the police report, which merely says Flowers "was transported to HCMC to be evaluated and then booked HCJ for his crimes." He was arrested on suspicion of obstructing the legal process and assaulting 33-year-old officer Christopher Reiter. The report provides no specifics about Flowers's injuries.
The report says Reiter's injuries consisted of bruises from fists. He also required medical attention.
A statement from MPD Chief Janeé Harteau urges people to withhold judgment until an investigation is complete.
"I would like to say that as a Police Chief I am frustrated. I'm sure our entire department is frustrated because we cannot talk about what happened as this case moves through the legal process," Harteau says. "For that reason, I am asking [media] and members of the general public to withhold judgment. I believe you all have been provided with the necessary data that is public information regarding this incident."
"I'd also like to say I'm frustrated because this is a distraction," she continues. "I've spent my weekend here on the North Side, working on public safety strategies and talking with members of the community. I do not want this to be a further distraction from the important work we are doing and this will be our department's last remarks regarding this matter."
In a Star Tribune report, Flowers's attorney, Minnesota Senator Bobby Joe Champion (D-Minneapolis), says that when he visited his client in jail, "I did not see any injuries to Mr. Flowers' hands, nothing to symbolize he had been punching anything... But then again I'm a J.D., not an M.D."
A Hennepin County courts official tells us charges haven't yet been filed against Flowers and won't be until this afternoon at the earliest.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.