WATCH: Bodycam footage shows Alabama pastor Michael Jennings getting arrested while watering neighbors' flowers

The pastor was arrested for such and such
Pastor Jennings can be seen handcuffed in the bodycam footage (Image via Childersburg Police Department)

On May 22, Michael Jennings, a pastor from Childersburg, Alabama, was arrested for watering his neighbors' flowers. The bodycam footage of the incident, which has since gone viral after being released last week, has provoked accusations among netizens that authorities targeted Jennings because he is an African-American.

In the video, Michael Jennings can be seen watering the plants as he is approached by officers. When asked about what he was doing there, Jennings explained that he had been asked to water the plants by his neighbor. He said:

"I'm supposed to be here. I'm Pastor Jennings. I live across the street."

Jennings added:

"I'm looking after their house while they're gone, looking after their flowers."
#Alabama police arrested a Black pastor after he was seen watering his neighbor's flowers. Pastor Michael Jennings was watering his neighbor's flowers when someone called 911. When cops asked for his ID, Jennings declined to provide it because he didn't do anything wrong.

When Jennings challenged the officers, asking why they had confronted him, the officers responded that a 911 call had been made concerning a suspicious individual in the garden.

After officers asked Michael Jennings for his identification, the pastor refused. When he tried to make a call, the officers promptly handcuffed him, charging him with "Obstructing Governmental Operations". The pastor then argued with the officers, accusing them of racial profiling. CNN reported that these charges have since been dropped.

Controversy surrounding the arrest of Pastor Michael Jennings

The video has garnered controversy, with many claiming that the officers did not have reasonable grounds to arrest Michael Jennings. Huffington Post reported that as a consequence, Pastor Jennings, a former police officer himself, is seeking legal action against the officers.

@abc3340 Hi , re false police report by one of the neighbors in which Pastor Michael Jennings arrested . This neighbor is who should be arrested. Racism based calls are a form of swatting as we saw in residential online multigamer vindictiveness.

In an interview with ABC news, Jennings explained that despite arguing with the officers, he was largely compliant. He said:

“I was trying to cooperate even though I didn’t understand what was going on. I was angry, but I knew to comply.”

In a statement to NPR, Harry Daniels, an attorney representing Jennings, said:

“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.”
Black pastor Michael Jennings was arrested in his neighbor's yard in Childersburg AL. He was watering neighbors' flowers, told police his neighbor asked him to look after his plants while he was out of town. They arrested him anyway though another neighbor vouched for him.

Richard McClelland, the Childersburg Chief of Police, responded to the case, stating that there are no genuine charges that should be levied on Jennings. He said:

“The 911 audio recording from the call and officer body camera footage was reviewed and interviews were conducted with the officers involved as part of my own investigation of the incident.”

He continued:

“As result of my investigation, I have recommended to the Municipal Judge of The City of Childersburg that the warrant be dismissed with prejudice.”

Under Alabama law, any officer "may stop any person abroad in a public place" if they suspect that the person is committing, has committed, or is about to commit a felony or other public offense and may demand the person's name, address, and explanation of his actions.

However, Jennings' attorneys said,

“Alabama's Stop and Identify Law did not require Pastor Jennings ... to identify himself because he was not in a public place.”
FWIW—see 2006 Alabama Code - Section 15-5-30 — Authority of peace officer to stop and question:…

Michael Jennings' attorneys told NPR that the release of the footage is the first step towards potential legal action against the Childersburg authorities.

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