Media Contact–

Nekima Levy Armstrong



January 16, 2020

Racial Justice Network & Communities United Against Police Brutality


Immediately drop the charges and release Samantha Crawley


Minneapolis, MN – We want the unjust charges against Samantha Crawley immediately dropped by Mike Freeman, the Hennepin County Attorney. Ms. Crawley is a mother of two, a Drake Hotel survivor, and a young Black woman living with autism and bipolar disorder. She is currently being held in Hennepin County jail on trumped-up assault charges filed against her by the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO). We want her immediately released, and police assault charges dropped.


On Sunday, January 12th, 2020, at 10:59 PM, Ms. Crawley was arrested and brought to HCSO for an unpaid $111.00 traffic ticket. According to Hennepin County court records, last May a citation for an alleged “abandoned motor vehicle,” was sent to an unknown address for her, but the citation was returned to their office. A warrant for her arrest was issued when the traffic fine wasn’t paid, and when she missed the hearing, even though the citation and the late notice were “returned mail,” due to incorrect address. Employees at Hennepin County made the decision to issue an arrest warrant for a traffic ticket they documented in their own court records was never received by Ms. Crawley. 


On top of trying to manage the stress of surviving the Christmas day Drake Hotel fire with her two children, having to move three times within two weeks, while managing her disability and mental health symptoms, she was arrested for a traffic ticket she was unaware of, and placed in a Hennepin County holding cell, where she has been grossly mistreated, and her symptoms exacerbated. She is already under intense stress, suffers from panic attacks, and has been denied her medications.


Ms. Crawley reports being punished by HCSO jail staff for exercising her right to remain silent. She reports being placed in a holding cell for 8 hours, where she was not allowed to make any calls, strapped in a chair for 3-4 hours, jail staff turned off the intercom system, turned off the water, she was left to sleep on a metal bed – took away the blankets and mattress, and at one point multiple guards rushed her in the holding cell, four officers on her ankles, four officers on her wrists, pushing on her and shouting out multiple commands, causing her to hyperventilate, and feel as if she was choking on her own spit. According to Samantha, when she spat because she felt she was going to vomit and choke, the officers accused her of purposely spitting on them and filed assault charges.


Ms. Crawley has been held in the Hennepin County jail for 5 days. Her first court appearance for the police assault charges is Thursday, 1/16/2020, at 1:30 PM and the community will be there to support her. No one should ever be arrested for lack of money to pay a traffic fine, and in her case, she didn’t even receive the notice for the traffic fine – this is our Hennepin County court system and jail system; a dehumanizing system. The City of Minneapolis and Hennepin County needs to do better, be better, and overhaul their oppressive and discriminatory criminal justice systems. We value Samantha Crawley and are calling for Hennepin County to drop the unjust charges and immediately release her.