Sep 10, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Black pastor sues police who arrested him for watering neighbors' flowers

Michael Jennings arrested by police.
Body camera footage of Jennings' arrest. Photo: Courtesy Childersburg Police Department

A Black pastor in Alabama has sued the police officers who arrested him while he was watering his neighbors' flowers, NPR reports.

The big picture: The pastor says that the incident violated his constitutional rights and caused him to suffer PTSD symptoms.

Driving the news: Pastor Michael Jennings filed a lawsuit Friday against the police officers involved in his arrest, saying he is suffering from emotional stress, including "significant PTSD-type symptoms," according to NPR.

  • The lawsuit names the city of Childersburg, Alabama, as the defendant. The city oversees the police department that arrested the pastor.
  • He has asked the jury to determine potential punitive damages.
  • "I'm here for accountability, and I'm here for justice," Jennings said, per NPR.

Catch up quick: Jennings was arrested while watering flowers for his neighbors who were out of town in early September, the Associated Press reports. He said he had done this on multiple occasions in the past.

  • A white woman noticed Jennings' car parked at the house and called the police, according to AP.
  • Officers approached Jennings and asked for his identification, but he refused, saying he had done nothing wrong, per NYT. He was arrested and charged with “obstructing government operations."

Alabama NAACP President Benard Simelton said in a statement to NPR: "These poor judgment decisions reflect poorly on the type of training the Childersburg police officers receive ... if they were acting in accordance within police guidelines."

  • Harry M. Daniels LLC, which is representing Jennings, did not respond to Axios' request for comment.
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