Minneapolis City Leaders Appeal for Calm after Arrest of Activist Al Flowers

Updated: 07/27/2014 10:24 PM
Created: 07/27/2014 9:02 PM
By: Beth McDonough

The arrest of a longtime activist in Minneapolis is raising alarm.

On Sunday, the chief of police and mayor appealed to folks in the city to remain calm while an investigation is carried out.

Al Flowers is outspoken within the black community, and has a history of suing the city.

Even though it hurts, Flowers hobbled out of his home to share his suffering.

"I have staples in my head, stitches above my eye," he said. The injuries are from what he calls a one-sided assault, reportedly at the hands of Minneapolis police Saturday night.

"I'm glad I'm still here, I didn't think I was going to be here," he said.

The 55-year-old claims officers came to his place on Chicago Avenue South with a warrant for his daughter. Flowers says when he asked to see it, he was roughed up.

However, the police report contends Flowers assaulted an officer and obstructed justice. What Flowers called police brutality on Sunday, city leaders carefully referred to as an incident.

"I'd like to say I'm frustrated. This is a distraction," Police Chief Janee Harteau said. The chief couldn't say more at a press briefing because of the ongoing investigation.

Flowers is a one-time mayoral candidate, sometime critic of the police department and former TV host. He now runs a community group aimed at reducing violence.

Since 2004, he's taken legal action six times against the city for racial discrimination and excessive force by officers. 

Given Flowers provocative past, spiritual leaders made a plea to those outside their church walls. "To all families, all citizens, we ask for calm and peace," said Bishop Richard Howell of Shiloh Temple Church in North Minneapolis.

A court date is pending for Flowers. His family says both the police chief and mayor reached out to them.  

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS asked about the officer involved in the altercation. Thirty-three-year-old Chris Reiter reportedly suffered some bruises. He's been on the force since 2009.

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