Black pastor sued after being arrested for watering neighbors flowers
A black pastor plans to sue Alabama police after he was handcuffed and arrested for watering his neighbor’s flowers while they were on vacation despite being asked to do so.
In May, Pastor Michael Jennings of the Vision of Abundant Life Ministries in Sylacauga was arrested outside his neighbor’s yard in what he calls a case of racial profiling after police said they received a complaint about a strange man and vehicle on the premises to have received land.
Jennings was seen watering the flowers with a hose in bodycam footage as he revealed himself to be the pastor and longtime neighbor of the property he was standing on.
An officer then handcuffed Jennings, although another neighbor intervened in his defense.
Arrested and charged with obstructing government operations for watering flowers
Jennings was nonetheless arrested and taken to jail and charged with obstructing government operations WBRC.
Police handcuffed a black pastor for watering his neighbor’s flowers… When was being a Good Samaritan justified?! This pastor could have been injured or worse because of a wrong 911 call. Over-surveillance of our neighborhoods will only lead to tragedy! pic.twitter.com/oJ3pkrZLNQ
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) August 23, 2022
But the scene that unfolded before appeared to be a classic case of racial profiling, concerns about which Jennings raised during the arrest, video shows show.
“How do we know this is the truth?” an officer asked him. “I had the hose in my hand! I watered the flowers,” Jennings replied.
Body camera footage shows three Childersburg police officers yelling at the pastor after he refused to identify himself.
He eventually found out that the person who called the police knew him. However, she didn’t recognize him when she dialed 911, the outlet reports.
“You’re going to racially profile me,” Jennings said in disbelief. “We’re not profiling you,” an officer replies. “Of course you have.”
Pastor Michael Jennings files discrimination against Alabama police for arresting him while watering his neighbors’ plants while they were out of town as they requested https://t.co/QGvVRRcgVu pic.twitter.com/Ursr3klK0f
— PaperChaserDotCom (@PaperChaserBlog) August 24, 2022
Pastor calls the arrest a case of racial profiling, which arrest officials deny
One of the officers denied that the arrest had anything to do with racial profiling, saying: “We are not profiling you face…. that’s not what we’re about, okay?”
“He’s going to be so embarrassed when I tell him I got arrested for watering his flowers,” Jennings said of his neighbor.
Jennings’ wife and daughter eventually arrived at the scene to identify him, but he was arrested and charged anyway.
Authorities later determined that the “suspect” vehicle belonged to another man.
The charges were dropped a month later, but the pastor is now trying to file a discrimination claim against the officers, according to WIAT.
“Last time I checked, watering roses isn’t a crime,” Jennings told the outlet.
Although the misunderstanding has been cleared up, police said they could not “pick up” Pastor Michael Jennings, accusing him of obstructing government operations. https://t.co/tzoQzUO0EM @ChurchLead #MichaelJennings #PoliceProfiling
— ChurchLeaders.com (@ChurchLead) August 24, 2022
Pastor intends to file a discrimination lawsuit after the charges are dropped
When asked why he didn’t just give officers an ID, the pastor said he feared the police could “put a bullet in his back” if he made his way to his home, where his ID is being held.
Jennings, who had a law enforcement background himself, also knew he didn’t need to show ID because he had committed a crime and was on private property, the outlet reports.
Jennings’ attorney said the body camera footage clearly shows police denying him his rights before the names of officers involved in the arrest as J. Gable, Christopher Smith and Sgt. Jeremy Brooks.
The lawsuit against the department has yet to be filed on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Childersburg Police Chief Rick McClelland told WVTM that the department would be conducting an internal investigation into the incident.
https://theshaderoom.com/black-pastor-to-sue-alabama-police-after-being-arrested-for-watering-his-vacationing-neighbors-flowers-for-them/ Black pastor sued after being arrested for watering neighbors flowers