Can police invade your home without a warrant?

Community activist Al Flowers beaten by police


News Analysis 

By Mel Reeves

Contributing Writer


“I could feel every one of the blows — all 30 to 40 of them,” explains Al Flowers, longtime community organizer. Flowers was beaten by Minneapolis police who said they came to pick up his 16-year-old daughter because she was out of range of her electronic monitoring device.

Police failed to pick up the daughter, but they did beat up and arrest the dad, Flowers, instead. Yes, police claimed to come to Flowers’ house at nearly 12 midnight on Friday, July 25, supposedly to pick up his daughter but did not take her into custody.

In fact, the daughter was cleared of any wrongdoing by juvenile authorities on Monday. It was all a mix-up, as it turned out. She had been given permission to go the hospital and in fact was home when police came to the house

 Al Flowers
Al Flowers

supposedly because she had activated the electronic monitoring device.

Flowers says he was beaten up after he had repeatedly asked the police to produce a warrant. While a Police Federation spokesperson said that police had a warrant, according to Flowers not only did they not produce one but they told him they didn’t need one.

Flowers says the events transpired quickly. Police came to the door and asked for his daughter. “Do you have a warrant?” he asked. The police insisted that they had a right to get his daughter.

At that point, according to Flowers, his daughter ran to the door and said, “I’m here, don’t do nothing to my dad.” Flowers says he told his daughter to call his sister. Police again insisted that they had a right to enter. Flowers said, “Ya’ll got to show me something. Where is your warrant?” Police responded, according to Flowers, “We ain’t got to show you nothing,” expletive, expletive.

According to Flowers, the police grabbed him by his neck and his arms and threw him to the living room floor and began beating on him. Eventually, according to his daughter and a cousin who witnessed the beating, eight officers took part in beating and kicking and actually stomping on Flowers.

Police eventually stopped beating Flowers and took him into custody. “They tossed me into the squad car like a rag doll,” he says. His saga of disrespect didn’t end there.

According to him, the officials at Hennepin County Medical Center were hostile as well. Flowers says that he had to make a big deal before they would take pictures of his injuries, a process most assume would be routine. But according to Flowers, hospital personnel were rude, seemed not to want to treat him, and refused to let his sister visit with him even after she had obtained clearance from the police.

If in fact eight officers joined the fracas, why were so many squads on the scene to pick up a 16-year-old girl who had committed no violent crime? Why didn’t police produce a warrant? Nothing explains why the police came to get Flowers’ daughter but failed to arrest her.

However, many community members have drawn their own conclusions. According to some, it appears the police are trying to send Flowers and others like him a message: “We are the police and we can and will do just what we want, even to your activists.”


Mel Reeves welcomes reader responses to


2 Comments on “Can police invade your home without a warrant?”

  1. Thank you for this well-balanced piece of objective journalism. I guess Mr. Reeves didn’t have room in his article to explain that police didn’t pick up Mr. Flowers’ innocent daughter BECAUSE SHE RAN FROM THEM.

    1. That sounds like a creative explanation. However, the fact still remains that by the state’s own omission said that Mr. Flowers daughter wasn’t in violation of her probation, thus eliminating the argument of “probable cause.” Either you have a warrant or you don’t ……..Either the daughter violated her probation conditions or she didn’t? You cannot say that you have a warrant, but can’t or become unwilling to show that warrant when requested. From the outside looking in sounds like “domestic terrorism.” His daughter is a child who didn’t grow up with the experience of living under “Jim Crow” and to see your own father being assaulted by the police or people who we are suppose to trust the most probably friehtened her and like any child would have done …..she ran if this was the case. To be honest this wasn’t an emergency case that couldn’t have been done the next morning once the information had been verified. If this were a case where drugs or other critical evidence could have been destroyed then I could see the emergency where police had no choice, but to barge in this mans home. This was the least issue that should have been on the police departments mind that night considering the number of shootings that go on in Minneapolis daily.

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