A Black Alabama pastor said he was wrongfully arrested and charged with obstructing government operations while watering his neighbor’s flowers.
According to NBC News, video of Michael Jennings’ May 22 arrest was released by his lawyers this week, which they believe will clear “the way for legal action against the officers.”
In the 20-minute-long footage, obtained by NBC, a Childersburg officer is seen approaching Jennings while he’s standing on the side of a home watering plants. An officer then asks Jennings what he is doing before the man responds “watering flowers.”
Jennings is later informing the officer that he does not live at the home and the car parked in the driveway is not his, but his neighbor’s. The officer then tells Jennings that police received a call about a suspicious person at the home, to which he asks, “Who’s saying that?”
"They called about it. ... I don't know," the officer responds.
"I'm supposed to be here. I'm Pastor Jennings. I live across the street," Jennings says as he continues to water the flowers. "I'm looking out for they house while they gone."
Jennings subsequently declines to provide identification when asked for it by the officer, telling him he’s done nothing wrong and that he too is former law enforcement.
"You want to lock me up. Lock me up. I'm not showing y'all anything," Jennings says. "I'm gonna continue watering these flowers. ... I don't care who called y'all. Lock me up and see what happens."
Ultimately, Jennings is placed in handcuffs for not providing identification.
Allegedly, a white woman began the ordeal when she called police to report a suspicious person, but when she realized it was Jennings outside the home, she apologized to him. Despite knowing Jennings, and informing the officer of it, he was still arrested.
"This video makes it clear that these officers decided they were going to arrest Pastor Jennings less than five minutes after pulling up and then tried to rewrite history claiming he hadn’t identified himself when that was the first thing he did," attorney Harry Daniels said of the charge levied against him, which was dropped in June, according to NBC. "This was not only an unlawful arrest. It’s kidnapping. It’s irrational, irresponsible and illegal."
Furthermore, Jennings’ legal team said their client was not required to provide identification “because he wasn’t in a public place,” a news release states.