Councilman Don Samuels sued for assault

A Minneapolis man is suing Ward 5 City Councilman Don Samuels for allegedly assaulting and denying him First Amendment rights last Saturday, according to a court affidavit filed in Hennepin County Jan. 20. Al Flowers claims that Samuels âÄútook physical action to prevent (him) from speaking and expressing himselfâÄù at a Jordan Area Community Council (JACC) press conference, according to the complaint. This is the second time in less than two years that Flowers has sued Samuels. FlowersâÄô lawyer, Jill Clark , said Flowers was speaking out against an âÄúillegal takeoverâÄù of the JACC, and that he believes Samuels was behind it. Clark said, while speaking about this issue at the press conference, Samuels walked up to Flowers and turned around with his back to him. Flowers claims that Samuels stepped on his feet and later hit him with his elbow. Samuels declined to comment for this story. Daniel Rother, a JACC board member, was at the press conference. He said Flowers was interrupting the press conference and Samuels walked over to block out the noise. Rother said Flowers then âÄúpushed (Samuels) very hardâÄù and Samuels stumbled forward. Rother said he didnâÄôt see Samuels step on FlowersâÄô feet. Tyrone Jaramillo , a Jordan resident who was also at the press conference, said Flowers made the first move when he pushed Samuels. Flowers is seeking at least $50,000, according to the complaint. Clark said he is also seeking an injunction to prevent Samuels from allegedly interfering with his First Amendment rights. Flowers is also suing two Minneapolis police officers for arresting him without allowing him to explain himself, and for allegedly allowing Samuels to stay because of his âÄústatus.âÄù Flowers also sued Samuels for violating his right to free speech in 2007, when Samuels contributed to getting Flowers suspended from a TV show he co-hosted on a public access channel in 2005. FlowersâÄô co-host on the show directed a racially charged remark at Samuels. Flowers won that lawsuit and was awarded $3 âÄî plus lawyer fees âÄî and got his TV show back.