Insight News

Feb 14th

Flowers: Once they attacked, I felt every blow

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20140727 160520Community organizer Al Flowers says he was beaten unconscious on July 26 by Minneapolis police as they attempted to serve an arrest warrant at his home for his teenage daughter. Flowers said the assault started when he asked to see the arrest warrant.

The incident took place at around midnight at Flowers' Southside residence. A warrant was issued for Flowers' minor daughter, who, police said, was unauthorized to be away from her home while wearing a monitoring device. It was later determined that the teen was compliant with the rules of her court-ordered monitoring.

Though the minor is not facing additional charges, Flowers was charged with assaulting a police officer in the incident that left him in need of staples to the head and other injuries including a black eye, blood within the eye, facial lacerations and bruised ribs. According to Flowers, his injuries were so severe that the county jail refused to process him and insisted he be taken first to a hospital.

Following a series of rallies and protest in support of Flowers, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges and Police Chief Janeé Harteau announced they will seek an independent investigator from outside law enforcement to look into Flowers' arrest and injury.

"I thought I did everything right, and I got caught off guard," said Flowers during a rally at the Minneapolis Urban League in North Minneapolis. "And once they attacked I felt every blow. I felt every one of the 30 to 40 blows to my head."

20140727 160502Flowers supporters are calling on the prosecutor to dismiss all charges against him, as they say he was the true victim. Flowers said he did nothing to provoke the attack.

The officers began pummeling him once he asked to see the warrant for his daughter, he said.

The incident has captured the public's attention because Flowers is a well-known community organizer and tensions between much of the African-American community and the Minneapolis Police Department are running high due to what many say is a culture of harassment and brutality within the department. For the city's part, both the Minneapolis mayor and police chief released a joint statement calling for an outside investigation.

"Chief Harteau and I decided together that transparency and fairness for Mr. Flowers, the police department and the community are best served by an independent investigation," said Hodges. "We intend to identify the leader of this investigation in the coming days."

In the statement, Harteau seems to be sticking by the actions of the officers in question.

20140727 160502"As I have stated in the past I have the utmost faith in the abilities and professionalism of our officers in the Minneapolis Police Department," said Harteau. But she continued, "I believe an outside investigation is necessary in this case to avoid any appearance of impropriety in the handling of this investigation."

Many feel it is no surprise that Flowers would be the target of Minneapolis police. Since 2004 Flowers, has filed at least six separate complaints against the department alleging excessive use of force.

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