Home Christian News Alabama Pastor Arrested While Watering Neighbor’s Flowers, Prepares Discrimination Lawsuit

Alabama Pastor Arrested While Watering Neighbor’s Flowers, Prepares Discrimination Lawsuit

Michael Jennings
Screengrab via WBRC

Alabama pastor Michael Jennings is preparing to file a lawsuit against the Childersburg Police Department following an incident wherein he was arrested and charged with obstructing government operations while watering flowers at the home of a neighbor who was out of town. 

The charges against Jennings, who pastors Vision of Abundant Life Ministries in Sylacauga, Alabama, were later dropped. 

Jennings, who is Black, is alleging that he was detained as a result of racial profiling. 

Police arrived on the scene after being alerted to a “suspicious individual” outside the Childersburg home. The exchange was captured on the unidentified officer’s body camera. While the arrest occurred in May, the footage is newly released. 

In the 20-minute video, police can be seen approaching Jennings while he watered plants with a garden hose. They asked him if he lived in the home, and Jennings indicated that he lived across the street but explained that his neighbors asked him to look after their home while they were away. 

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When police asked for Jennings’ identification, he refused and reiterated that he was supposed to be at the home. 

After Jennings walked around to the other side of the house, saying more plants were needing to be watered, police handcuffed Jennings. Jennings requested to call his wife, which police did not allow him to do. After Jennings continued to argue with police, they placed him in the back of a patrol vehicle. 

Later, police asked another neighbor to corroborate Jennings’ story. She identified Jennings’ house, and confirmed that he was friends with the people who lived in the home where Jennings was watering plants. 

While she couldn’t confirm that Jennings had express permission to be on the property, she said, “They went out of town today, so [Jennings] may be watering their flowers. That’d be completely normal.”

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Nevertheless, the officer continued to refer to Jennings as “a suspicious person.”