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Pastor arrested for watering neighbor’s flowers, files suit

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A Black pastor arrested while watering his neighbor’s flowers has filed a federal lawsuit – CNN

According to a lawsuit filed on Saturday, a Black pastor arrested for watering his neighbors’ flowers claimed his rights were violated by an unlawful and false arrest.

A federal lawsuit filed by Michael Jennings, longtime pastor of Vision of Abundant Life Church in Sylacauga, Alabama, alleges that his arrest in Childersburg in May 2022 resulted in ongoing emotional distress, including depression, anxiety, stress, anger, frustration, sleeplessness, nightmares, and flashbacks.

As a result of “willful, malicious, wanton, reckless, and fraudulent conduct,” Pastor Jennings is also entitled to punitive damages, according to the suit.

City officials were contacted for comment, but did not respond immediately.

‘I’m supposed to be here’

A video of Jennings’ arrest from a police body camera was released two weeks ago by Jennings’ attorneys. Jennings can be seen in the video watering flowers and plants outside a Childersburg home when two police officers approach.

A police officer named in the suit asks Jennings what he is doing, and he responds that he is watering flowers.

According to a call transcript obtained by The Associated Press, a 911 call was made about a black male and a gold SUV at the house while the homeowners were away.

As a response to Smith’s statement about the 911 caller who said there was someone at the house who wasn’t supposed to be there, Jennings says, “I’m Pastor Jennings and I live across the street.

Then he continued, “I’m watering their flowers while they’re away.”

There is a video recording of the conversation included in the lawsuit which can be heard on the body camera.

Smith asked Jennings for identification, but he refused since he hadn’t done anything wrong. According to Jennings, the arrest was unlawful because he was on private property and he “had a clearly established constitutional right under the Fourth Amendment to be protected from unreasonable seizure, as well as not to be arrested without arguable probable cause.”

‘I’m here for accountability and … justice’

As Jennings walks away from the officers, he tells them he hasn’t done anything suspicious and that he will continue to “water these flowers.”

A police report obtained by the AP says Jennings is told he could face obstruction charges, and another officer, Justin Gable, puts him in handcuffs.

The obstruction charge against Jennings was dismissed by a municipal judge in June, according to documents provided by his attorneys.

Jennings said at a press conference on Saturday in Birmingham, Alabama, “I want to be clear that I’m not anti-police. Our society would be a mess without the police. However, there are bad police, as well as good police. There are good preachers and bad preachers. In spite of their impunity, they continued to do what they did.”

Jennings described the incident as “humiliating” and “dehumanizing.”

The lawsuit is his way of creating change, he said. Jennings said, “I’m not here for revenge.” Instead, he said, “I’m here for accountability and justice.”

For more coverage on this story, check the following additional news sources:

A Black pastor arrested while watering his neighbor’s flowers has filed a federal lawsuit  CNN

David Jones
David Joneshttps://headlinesmart.com
David is a freelance journalist covering daily news and matters of great public importance.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. This so-called “pastor” was dead wrong. He caused this situation himself by being a jerk toward the police, and refusing to show his ID, as we are ALL required to do. It has absolutely nothing to do with whether you feel you did something wrong or not. The police did nothing wrong. As a pastor, he needs to man-up and set a better example than this. What a shameful way for a so-called man of God to behave. I am also disgusted with the way this story is being presented. Instead of being honest and reporting in a truthful way, you are intentionally trying to stir up racial hatred. SHAME ON YOU!!!

  2. This so called “flock” leader should have been more than happy to have “set an example”. Instead, he baited the officers until they had no choice but arrest. The pastor could have shown some id, given his correct full name, volunteered the name of his church and the address. He did nothing to comply with the offices simple request to verify he was legitimately supposed to be trespassing on someone else’s property. The pastor wouldn’t give up the name of the property owners, or even where they were. The pastor could have easily been casing the property for or prior to committing a crime. Had absolutely nothing to do with being of any particular color. But here we go again, the media trying to stir up drama just to sell and get the public’s attention. Send the pastor to jail. He failed to reasonably cooperate with the police in the process of trying to do their duties.

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