Black pastor arrested while watering flowers, charges police


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (TBEN) – A black pastor who was arrested by white police officers while watering the flowers of an out-of-town neighbor filed a federal lawsuit alleging the ordeal violated his constitutional rights and caused ongoing problems, including emotional problems. distress and fear.

Michael Jennings filed a lawsuit Friday night against three officers and the city of Childersburg in central Alabama, seeking a jury trial and an unspecified amount.

“I’m here for accountability, and I’m here for justice,” Jennings told the press conference.

The suit alleged the actions of officers Christopher Smith and Justin Gable, Sgt. Jeremy Brooks and the city have violated rights protecting against unlawful arrest and guaranteeing freedom of expression. He cited multiple ongoing issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder and humiliation.

Childersburg city attorney Reagan Rumsey did not return an email seeking comment.

Jennings identified himself as “Pastor Jennings,” but refused to give identification to the officers, who arrested him on charges of obstructing government operations after a 20-minute confrontation with raised voices on both sides.

Benard Simelton, chairman of the NAACP’s Alabama branch, said the officers who arrested Jennings were doing “so many things” that were inconsistent with the good tactics of the community police.

“These poor review decisions poorly reflect the kind of training Childersburg police officers would receive…if they acted in accordance with police guidelines,” Simelton said in a statement.

While Jennings could have filed a claim against the city seeking damages, attorney Harry Daniels said he couldn’t because the arrest was well within the legal timeframe for a trial.