Independent probe: No wrongdoing in disputed arrest of high-profile activist


An independent investigation into the arrest of a prominent activist for Minneapolis' north side found no evidence that police acted improperly.

Police and the City of Minneapolis launched a probe after Al Flowers Jr. claimed he was unjustly arrested by officers, who he said used excessive force in the process and suggested it was racially motivated.

The results of the investigation were released Wednesday, finding that the officers' conduct "did not violate MPD policy and there was no suggestion of racial discrimination. The officers have been exonerated of wrongdoing.

It followed an incident at Flowers' home on the 3100 block of Chicago Ave in July of 2014. Reports from the time say police arrived to arrest one of Flowers' relatives on an outstanding warrant, though mention of this family member has been redacted in the report.

The case sparked anger among Minneapolis' black community, with many local leaders saying it led to strained relations between themselves and police.

Flowers 'had cause to be upset,' but use of force 'not excessive'

When police arrived at Flowers' home, Flowers demanded to see the warrant for the family member's arrest, only for the officers to say they don't usually produce paper copies.

He then began "protesting verbally" and "physically resisting" police attempts to make an arrest by putting his "tensed" arm across the doorway, standing between the officers and the family member.

One of the officers then reached out to grasp the family member's arm, Flowers blocked it. It was at this point he was warned he would be arrested for obstruction if he didn't move, according to testimony from one of the officers.

He didn't move and police proceeded to arrest him, during which time he sustained injuries to his scalp, face and ribs, and required hospital treatment.

Flowers disputed the police's version of events, saying one of the officers had grabbed his throat and then "bum-rushed" him into the house.

The independent probe found however that the use of force exerted by officers – including open hand strikes to the face and knees to the torso – was "justified and not excessive" and that they were considered force techniques "commensurate with his resistance."

While finding for the police, the report did acknowledge however that Flowers "had cause to be upset" after the first responding officer failed to produce a warrant and says that the officers "should have used their discretion to deescalate the confrontation."

The report concludes by saying there was "insufficient evidence" to establish that the officers' conduct was influenced by his race or community activities.

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