Black pastor sues police after being arrested while watering flowers

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A Black pastor who was arrested in Alabama while watering his neighbor’s flowers filed a federal lawsuit against the city and three of its police officers.

Michael Jennings, a pastor at Vision of Abundant Life Church in Sylacauga, Ala., filed a lawsuit Friday against the city of Childersburg and its police department after he was detained on May 22.

Jennings was charged with obstructing government operations after police accused him of failing to respond to their request that he provide identification. The charges were dropped in June, according to NBC News.

Jennings’ suit accuses the officers of violating his Fourth Amendment rights. It names officers Christopher Smith, Justin Gable and Jeremy Brooks as defendants along with the city of Childersburg.

“I’m here for accountability, and I’m here for justice,” Jennings said during a news conference Saturday.

According to the complaint, Jennings’ neighbor, a White woman, called 911 to report a suspicious person.

When officers arrived they asked Jennings what he was doing.

“Watering flowers,” the pastor responded, according to a video released by the Childersburg Police Department. “I’m supposed to be here. I’m Pastor Jennings. I live across the street.”

After Jennings refused to show identification and kept watering flowers, officers Gable and Smith placed him in handcuffs.

Eventually Jennings’ wife also arrived on the scene and presented her husband’s identification. However, officers refused to release Jennings and took him to Childersburg City Jail, and then transported him to the Talladega County Jail, the complaint said.

The charges against Jennings were dismissed in June.

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