Black Childersburg man who was arrested in May for taking care of his neighbors’ garden, files a federal lawsuit against three Alabama police officers

Childersburg, Alabama – A federal lawsuit was filed against three Alabama police officers and the city of Childersburg on Friday by Michael Jennings, a Black pastor who was arrested in May while watering his out-of-town neighbor’s plants as per their request. Jennings filed the lawsuit after he was taken into custody for the incident. In his case, Jennings claims that his arrest caused him to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), emotional suffering, and a loss of constitutional rights.

During a press conference on Saturday, Jennings said of the police officers who detained him, “What they did that day was impunity, knowing there’d be no action done against them.” Jennings was referring to the officers’ belief that there would be no repercussions for their actions. “I felt dehumanized. I felt small. I felt helpless. And it pained me.”

In the lawsuit, the attorney for Jennings asserts that Childersburg police officers Christopher Smith and Justin Gable, as well as Sgt. Jeremy Brooks, violated his rights under the Fourth Amendment and engaged in conduct that was “willfully, maliciously, in bad faith, and in reckless disregard of Pastor Jennings'” rights. This conduct is described as “willful, malicious, in bad faith, and in reckless disregard of Pastor Jennings'” rights.

According to the text of the lawsuit, “No reasonable officer in the individuals’ position could have believed there was arguable probable cause that Pastor Jennings committed the felony of obstruction of government, or any other criminal act, prior to his arrest.”

According to the lawsuit, this incident took place on May 22 while Jennings was tending to his neighbor’s flowers while they were out of town. Jennings was doing this since his neighbors were absent. According to the Associated Press, a white neighbor contacted the police on Jennings and told dispatchers that a black male and a gold SUV were on the homeowner’s property while they were away while the homeowner was away.

According to the allegations made in the lawsuit, Jennings gave his name to the authorities as “Pastor Jennings,” but he refused to produce identifying documentation. According to the lawsuit, the officers then placed him under custody on charges of disrupting the activities of the government.

According to the Associated Press, the charge was dropped a few days after the incident at the request of the police chief who was in charge at the time. The footage of Jennings’ arrest, which was secured by his attorneys and made public a month ago, was recorded by a body camera during the arrest.

Jennings is requesting a trial with a jury and an amount of money that has not been specified.

Benard Simelton, the president of the Alabama NAACP, stated that it is vital for Jennings to achieve justice in this case, so that others do not continue to face similar interactions with law officers. Simelton made this statement during the news conference that took place on Saturday.

According to what Simelton claimed, “He emerged from this circumstance with the ability to continue his life.” “However, we are here today because there are many other people all across this country and the nation who have had a similar contact with police enforcement that resulted in a very different outcome.”

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