Al Flowers Investigation
Published on: Jul 31, 2014
I am writing regarding yesterday’s announcement by Mayor Hodges and Chief Harteau that they are seeking an “independent” investigation regarding the recent arrest of Al Flowers. At this point, it is not clear as to who will be conducting the investigation, whether the purpose of the investigation is to review Flowers’ conduct or the conduct of the officers, or whether the investigation is for the purpose of considering criminal or disciplinary action.
What is clear is that this decision demonstrates poor leadership by departing from standard policies and procedures in a frightened reaction to the publicity that Mr. Flowers and his supporters have generated based solely on his version of the events. Minneapolis Police Officers and taxpayers deserve better. Changes in policy should be made based on well-reasoned, deliberate conclusions driven by necessity and fact rather than by the reflex of self-preservation that seeks to deflect onto another person or agency the criticism that will be no doubt be leveled when the officers are exonerated.
In addition to the dubious motivation for the decision, it is illogical and fundamentally flawed in three respects:
1) It falsely is premised upon the presumption that Internal Affairs or OPCR cannot or will not conduct a fair and thorough investigation;
2) It is grounded on the wishful thinking, however unrealistic, that those who are protesting (and who probably have already made up their mind about what happened based on Flowers’ accusations) will ever accept any conclusion other one that finds the officers guilty of intentional criminal conduct; and
3) It sends the message that, if you want your allegations against the MPD to get special treatment, all you need to do is hold a press conference.
Rest assured that if, as anticipated, the Officers who arrested Flowers are the subject of the investigation, they are guaranteed a variety of due process and legal protections by the Constitution, State Statutes and our Labor Agreement. The Federation will not allow these rights to be violated or compromised in any respect either during or after any investigation regardless of who conducts it.
We will keep you posted as events develop.