10/14/2004 Newsletter


  • Victory in Al Flowers and Alissa Clemons Case
  • Abdisathi Kahin Court Watch
  • Philander Jenkins Court Watch
  • Freddie Lawler Court Watch
  • Khue Vang Court Watch
  • October 22 Events
  • MPD/ICE Separation Ordinance Update

Courtesy of top-notch lawyering and plenty of public pressure, the movement attained a first-class victory yesterday in the case of Al Flowers and Alissa Clemons.  After a month-long trial, jurors took little time to return a verdict of NOT GUILTY on all charges in this case in which police attacked Flowers in front of many witnesses as he talked on a cell phone outside of the Minneapolis Urban League office.  During the attack, an officer choked Flowers so vigorously that witnesses testified that "his tongue was hanging out and his eyes were bugged out."  Flowers was charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing legal process.  Flowers' sister, Alissa Clemons, a former MPD officer, was charged after a police officer punched her in the chest, claiming she tried to pull his hands off Flowers' neck.  Another individual came forward over a year ago and stated he was the one who tried to end the choking yet the city attorney's office went forward with charges against Clemons, showing the vindictive nature of this prosecution.  The defense was aided by the fact that this incident was captured on video.

During the trial, five police officers were caught lying on the stand or were shown to have falsified their reports.  Computer records were used to show that these officers accessed and changed their reports over and over to line up with each other and with the videotapes.  Falsifying reports and "testilying" by cops are nothing new in this town but it's rare to see it proven so starkly.  These cops all deserve a boot in the ass and an escort out the door but it remains to be seen if Chief McManus and his much-touted "new and improved" internal affairs department will act on these revelations.

Kudos to Jill Clark and Jill Waite, the super-attorneys in this case.  Through vigilance and hard work they educated the almost all-white jury about the ways of Minneapolis police toward people of color.  Afterward jurors told them, "if we ever need attorneys, we're coming to you."  Some of the jurors cried and hugged members of the Flowers family after the hearing.

Here's a list of upcoming court watch opportunities:

TODAY, October 14th
8:30 a.m.
Hennepin County Government Center
Courtroom 1159
Abdisathi Kahin - Mr. Kahin was stopped and ticketed by a plain-clothes Minneapolis police officer driving an unmarked van after making a U-turn at an intersection on Lake Street.  However, what should have been a routine traffic stop turned ugly when that same cop and some of his buddies followed Abdi to the Somali mall, pulled him out of the car and punched and beat him in front of numerous witnesses after Abdi told them "you can't abuse me."  The cop told Abdi he was going to teach him "a lesson."  While he was being arrested, the partner of the cop who did the hitting dug around frantically in a book of statutes trying to find something to arrest Abdi on.  Amazingly, Abdi was only charged with making an illegal U turn and unsafe lane change, the same things he was ticketed on before being stopped a second time and beaten.  He was held for six hours in the jail but even the jailers said he should not have been arrested.

9:00 a.m.
Hennepin County Government Center
Philander Jenkins - This is the third attempt by the state to put false charges on Philander to cover for cops breaking his jaw and the jail denying him medical care.  He was subsequently beaten and sexually assaulted in the jail.  The first two sets of charges were thrown out after it was found that a gun had been planted in the first case and a fingerprint planted and witnesses manipulated in the second case.  Philander has spent over a year in jail on these various false charges.  We're hoping that this last set of charges will be dispatched quickly so this young man can recover and move on with his life.

October 20
1:30 p.m.
Hennepin County Government Center
Freddie Lawler - Freddie was a passenger in a car that was pulled over by an MPD cop.  The driver was pulled out of the car, cuffed and beaten.  Freddie told the cops "there is no need for violence."  Freddie is a disabled vet with neck and back problems, which he told the cop as he was being yanked from the car.  He was taken to the front of the car and his face was slammed on the hood so hard that he started bleeding from his nose and mouth.  He was treated at North Memorial and then jailed overnight.  He is charged with obstructing legal process, the standard charge put on people who are beaten by the cops.

October 21
1:00 p.m.
Ramsey County Courthouse
Khue Vang - Khue and other family members were holding a family birthday party when St. Paul police rolled up and chased people into the house.  Despite the fact that folks tried to cooperate with police, several were cuffed, beaten, one was kicked in the eye, one sustained a broken nose, one was Tasered and several were maced.  Khue was in the back yard during the incident.  Cops emerged from the house, grabbed and beat him.  Ultimately ten people were hauled off to jail--the ones with visible injures.  All were refused medical attention.  Six were released after a few hours with misdemeanor charges, four were held 24 hours on felony incitement to riot charges.  Khue is charged with obstructing legal process and inciting to riot.  There are 40-50 witnesses to the attack.

CUAPB has launched a month of activities to mark October 22 National Day of Protest Against Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation.  So far, we've held a Know Your Rights training, given two presentations to classes, met with police officials in Brooklyn Center (which we will report on later).  We'll also be conducting workshops at this weekend's National Conference on Police Accountability in Portland, OR.

We have three very exciting public events coming up:

Friday, October 22
Meet at the Hennepin County Government Center Plaza
5th Street between 3rd and 4th Avenues
5:00 p.m. Rally
6:00 p.m. "Tour of Injustice" and March through Downtown
We'll move through downtown Minneapolis to condemn police brutality, misconduct and abuse of authority.  Along the way, we'll take a whirlwind tour of sites that contribute to giving Minnesota the highest rate of overprosecution and overconviction of people of color in the entire US.

WALKING WITH THE DEVIL: The Police Code of Silence
Lecture and Readings by Author Michael W. Quinn
Thursday, October 28
7:00 p.m.
Walker Community Church
3104 16th Avenue South, Minneapolis

Mike Quinn was an officer with the Minneapolis Police Department for 23 years.  During that time, he worked in some of the toughest and highest-profile units, serving over 300 high-risk warrants without a critical incident, conducting successful raids on armed and dangerous suspects.  He was also involved in investigating allegations of criminal and departmental violations by police officers.  He oversaw the development of a Federally-sponsored Police Corps Academy.  From his experiences, he saw the need for a book to teach new recruits about real-life ethical dilemmas, to challenge myths about police culture and to promote the true meaning of being a peace officer.  Walking with the Devil: The Police Code of Silence is a gem that has relevance to everyone who cares about the quality of policing and the quality of life in our community.

With a passion for ethical policing and a commitment to serving the community, Mike Quinn has a powerful message to share with the people of Minneapolis, and everywhere.
A reception will be held at the end of the lecture and Mike Quinn will be available to sign copies of his book.

Wednesday, October 27
6:30 p.m.
Walker Community Church
3104 16th Avenue South, Minneapolis
Do you love watching law shows on TV?  Do you like listening to people tell their important stories?  Would you like to learn how to help the community with a class-action lawsuit designed to force the Minneapolis Police Department to make real changes?  If so, this training is for you.

We'll teach non-lawyers how to go into the community to collect affidavits (a fancy legal word for stories) in preparation for our multi-class, class action federal lawsuit--what to look for and how to document people's experiences.  You'll learn valuable skills that can be applied in other situations.
For more information on any of these events or if you'd like to schedule a Know Your Rights training or other speaking event with us, please drop an email to [email protected] or call our hotline at 612-874-7867.


As reported in previous editions of this newsletter, there is a movement afoot both locally and nationally to attack the Minneapolis and St. Paul ordinances that prevent their police officers from acting as immigration agents.  These ordinances are very important for new arrival communities to be able to access police services without fear of deportation.

Ashcroft & Co. have been busy on the federal level trying to spin the 9/11 Commission findings to their favor.  They are pushing hard for the passage of HR10, a bill that would put into place broad new repressions including penalizing cities who choose not to have their cops act as extensions of the INS/BICE.  Please read and act on the information below from the Local Impacts of the War on Terrorism Work Group:

INS/City Separation Ordinances Once Again in Grave Danger

Thank you for your on-going vigilance as House Republicans push to enact very repressive measures in the late hours of this Congressional Session. Once again our INS/City Separation Ordinances are in jeopardy, attacked at the federal level. Please act today. Here's what's up - -

A US Congress Conference Committee will soon be deciding whether to adopt very BAD House provisions as part of the "9/11 Implementation Act". One of these provisions would squash the INS/City Separation Ordinances that many of us have worked hard to get adopted in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

The only Minnesotan on this Conference Committee is Sen. Norm Coleman.   Please contact him TODAY or VERY SOON urging him to keep the Senate version and oppose the House provisions that grant broad powers to the government that threaten civil liberties.  His Toll Free Number in DC is:  800-642-6041

Specific bad House provisions to mention are:

1. Allowing the secret FISA court to authorize surveillance and searches of individuals not connected to a foreign power, and not suspected of criminal activity.

2. Allowing greater numbers of business records to be seized by the FBI without a court order.

3. Putting in place punitive policies to punish states and municipalities who refuse to allow their police to act as federal immigration agents. (This was not originally a PATRIOT 2 provision, but part of a bill known as the CLEAR Act).

Sen. Norm Coleman contact info

Washington Office:
320 Senate Hart Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Main: 202-224-5641
Fax: 202-224-1152
Toll Free: 800-642-6041
Scheduling: 202-228-1503

Minnesota Office in St. Paul:
2550 University Ave W, Suite 100N
St. Paul, MN 55114
Main: 651-645-0323
Fax: 651-645-3110

Thank you for your vigilance!

Communities United Against Police Brutality
3104 16th Avenue S
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Hotline 612-874-STOP (7867)

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