On the day he was kidnapped and thrown in a cage, Pastor Michael Jennings had harmed no one, committed no crime and was actually being a good neighbor. He never thought that being asked to water his friend’s flower bed would lead to such a police interaction but thanks to ignorant and apparently-racial profiling cops in Alabama, that’s exactly what happened. Now, the taxpayers of Alabama will be held liable for the actions of the cops.
According to Georgia Public Broadcasting, Jennings, a longtime pastor at Vision of Abundant Life Church in Sylacauga, Ala., is being represented in his newly filed federal lawsuit by national civil rights attorney, Harry Daniels, and attorneys Bethaney Embry Jones, Joi Travis and Roderick Van Daniels. They hosted a news conference Saturday with the Alabama NAACP to discuss the case.
“I’m here for accountability, and I’m here for justice,” Jennings said.
“These poor judgment decisions reflect poorly on the type of training the Childersburg police officers receive … if they were acting in accordance within police guidelines,” Alabama NAACP President Benard Simelton said in a statement to NPR.
As we reported at the time, Jennings was kidnapped by police in May — his kidnappers, two officers with the Childersburg police department. The entire interaction was captured on video.
According to police, they showed up at Jennings’ neighbor’s house that day claiming they received a call about a suspicious person. Being that Jennings has lived in the neighborhood for years and is long time friends of his neighbors, he is hardly suspicious yet police would use this claim to violate his rights.
As the video shows, Jennings is literally watering his neighbor’s flowers when police show up because this is exactly what his neighbors had asked. When the unidentified officer asks the pastor what he is doing, Jennings told him that he had just gotten back from conducting church and he stopped at his neighbor’s home to water their flowers because they had asked him to do so.