Alabama cops arrest pastor watering neighbor’s flowers; clergyman plans lawsuit

Pastor Michael Jennings can be heard in bodycam footage identifying himself and accusing the police of racial profiling, which they denied. 

An Alabama pastor is said to have suffered emotional harm from an incident in which he claims he was racially profiled by Childersburg police officers while simply being a good neighbor.

According to WBRC News, Pastor Michael Jennings was watering his longtime neighbor’s flowers in May, as the neighbor had requested, when police showed up. They said someone had reported a suspicious vehicle and person at the site. The incident ended with Jennings being taken into custody and charged with obstructing government operations after he refused to show identification.

In body camera footage WBRC says it received this week, police can be seen confronting Jennings while he still has the water hose in hand. Jennings gave the police his name and explained that his house was across the street. He also informed them he was not the owner of the gold SUV they were asking about – which turned out to be registered to his neighbor. 

Alabama pastor arrested
Pastor Michael Jennings was arrested in May after police in Childersburg, Alabama, confronted him as he watered a neighbor’s flowers. (Screengrab courtesy of bodycam footage obtained by WBRC News)

From there, he can be heard accusing the police of racial profiling, which they denied. 

One officer, who was among three who came to the home, requested Jennings’ credentials, which he refused to show. Jennings informed the officers that he had experience in law enforcement and was aware he did not need to present identification because he was not committing a crime. He was ultimately put in handcuffs and had his phone confiscated.

“He is going to be so p***** when I tell him I got arrested for watering his flowers,” Jennings can be heard saying in the video, as reported by WBRC.

The charges against Jennings were dropped in June, but Harry Daniels, one of three attorneys working on his behalf, said they still intend to sue the department.

“It represents an abuse of police powers. It represents racial profiling and it represents law-enforcement officers intimidating a person who actually understands and knows their rights,” Daniels said, according to WBRC.

“They could’ve moved him out of his cuffs, but they had a conversation trying to figure out what they’re going to charge him with,” Daniels told WBRC. “But nevertheless, this man is stripped away from his family, his home, thrown in jail, fingerprinted [and] booked, you name it. So, those types of damages need to be reconciled.”

WBRC reported that as of Tuesday, Aug. 23, the lawsuit against the Childersburg Police Department had not been filed.

TheGrio reached out to the City of Childersburg and Childersburg Police Chief Richard McClelland, but had not heard back from either party at the time of publication.

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