Minneapolis mayoral candidate Al Flowers said Monday that he was visiting a friend and wasn't aware that a gang member was at her Edina house when he was ticketed for marijuana possession last month.

"I learned that in the paper along with everyone else. I don't condone gangs. I talk against that," Flowers said in a phone interview after releasing a statement blaming the accusation on political opponents.

Flowers said that he was visiting longtime friend Angelique Anderson at an Edina home she rented in the 6100 block of France Avenue S., and said that Brandon M. Wilson, 29, was her boyfriend. Wilson is a Crips gang member who has numerous convictions for dealing crack cocaine, according to a search warrant executed by the Hennepin County Violent Offenders Task Force.

"While the police and drive-by media are talking about pot charges, we're going to keep talking about the potholes in our streets and the craters in the lackluster vision put forth by the current mayor of Minneapolis," Flowers said in a statement.

Flowers said that with a high proportion of Minneapolis blacks "having some sort of trumped-up charges filed against us by the police in our lifetimes, none of us would be able to enter the home of any friend or family member for fear of having some guilt by association accusation hurled at us."