A Black pastor who was arrested by Alabama police whereas he was watering his neighbor’s flowers filed a federal lawsuit Friday towards the town and three of its officers.
Michael Jennings, a longtime pastor at Imaginative and prescient of Considerable Life Church in Sylacauga, Alabama, was detained on Might 22 by Childersburg officers responding to a 911 name a couple of suspicious particular person.
Jennings was charged with obstructing authorities operations after police accused him of failing to answer their request that he present identification. The fees have been dropped in June.
He mentioned in a lawsuit filed within the Northern District of Alabama that his arrest was “illegal” and violated his Fourth Modification rights. The swimsuit names officers Christopher Smith, Justin Gable and Jeremy Brooks as defendants together with the Metropolis of Childersburg.
The ordeal started when Jennings’ neighbor, a white girl, known as 911 to report a suspicious particular person, the lawsuit mentioned.
In a video launched final month, Jennings was exterior a house watering flowers when Officer Smith approached him and requested Jennings what he was doing.
“Watering flowers,” the pastor responded as he pointed a watering hose on the shrubbery. Jennings went on to elucidate that his neighbor requested him to water the flowers whereas the neighbor was out of city.
“I’m alleged to be right here. I’m Pastor Jennings. I stay throughout the road,” he mentioned, in keeping with the video. “I’m looking for they home whereas they gone.”
Jennings relayed the identical data to Officer Gable when he arrived on the scene, in keeping with the lawsuit.
Officer Smith requested Jennings to supply an identification card, the video confirmed, however Jennings refused and mentioned he had not performed something mistaken.
As he walked away to proceed watering the flowers, officers Gable and Smith positioned him in handcuffs, in keeping with the lawsuit. It accused Brooks, the final officer to reach on the scene, of telling Jennings that he wanted to take heed to police and “shut his mouth.”
The lady who known as police tried to defuse the scenario by apologizing to Jennings and telling police that she does know him from the neighborhood. Jennings’ spouse additionally arrived on the scene and confirmed police her husband’s identification card, the video confirmed.
Regardless of this, the officers “refused to launch Pastor Jennings from their custody and took him to the Childersburg Metropolis Jail after which he was booked and transported to the Talladega County Jail,” the lawsuit mentioned.
Jennings was fingerprinted, had his mug shot taken and was booked into the county jail earlier than his spouse bailed him out, in keeping with the lawsuit.
Beneath Alabama regulation, an officer “might cease any particular person overseas in a public place” if they believe that particular person is committing, has dedicated or is about to commit a criminal offense. Attorneys for Jennings beforehand mentioned their consumer didn’t have to supply identification “as a result of he was not in a public place.”
The police division and the Metropolis of Childersburg didn’t reply to telephone calls and emails Saturday requesting remark about Jennings’ arrest or the lawsuit. Efforts to succeed in the three officers by telephone Saturday weren’t profitable.