A Black pastor is proceeding with a discrimination lawsuit against Alabama police after cops handcuffed him while he was watering flowers for his neighbor.
New video obtained by WBRC on Tuesday (August 23) shows the full 20-minute police confrontation in Childersburg, Alabama that resulted in the arrest of pastor Michael Jennings back in May.
Jennings can be seen in the video hosing his neighbor's flowers as he is approached by three Childersburg Police Department officers who claim they were responding to a complaint of a "suspicious" person and vehicle on the property.
In the video, the Vision of Abundant Life Ministries pastor gives the officers his name and informs them that he lives a few houses down and is taking care of his neighbor's yard while they are out of town.
Police proceed to ask Jennings for identification, to which he refuses. Jennings tells the officers that he is aware that he doesn't have to provide identification because he isn't committing a crime.
Despite his explanation and another neighbor vouching that he lived in the community, cops arrested Jennings and put him in the back of a police car.
“Y’all racially profiled me,” Jennings says in the video.
“We’re not racially profiling you,” an unidentified officer responds.
“I told you I was here watering flowers,” the pastor continues.
“How do we know that’s the truth,” the officer questions.
“I had the water hose in my hand! I was watering the flowers,” Jennings replies.
The pastor was later taken to jail and charged with obstructing government operations.
Although the charges were dropped in June, Jennings has brought on three attorneys to represent him in a discrimination lawsuit set to be filed against the department.
“These cases put law enforcement on notice and the country on notice that these types of interactions — thank God that Pastor Jennings had a cool head. He didn’t get aggressive or defensive in a sense, and he complied when the officers grabbed him," civil rights attorney Harry Daniels said. But Brittany, it could’ve went a different way. Pastor Jennings could very well not be here today."
Daniels said the video clearly shows police denying Jennings of his rights, per WBRC.
“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,” he said.
Watch the full video here.