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Black Pastor’s Neighbor Arrested For Watering Flowers Says “He’s a Good Guy”

A neighbor of a black pastor, who was arrested while watering a garden at his home in Alabama, spoke out about the incident.

Roy Malim, 66, said that when he and his wife left town in May, he was convinced that his neighbor and great friend, 56-year-old Pastor Michael Jennings, would do an amazing job taking care of his home in Childersburg. Mr. Malim and Mr. Jennings met seven years ago when the pastor moved to the neighborhood.

“He [was the one] call me and ask if I need anything without even asking. That’s what it is, it will do anything for you, ”said Malim Independent on Monday. “He’s always the one watering my wife’s flowers and checking my mail, making sure no one makes a fuss at home.”

But a neighbor mistook Mr. Jennings for an intruder and called 911 to report “suspicious” activity outside the house, which led to his arrest. The ordeal caused Jennings PTSD and anxiety, he argues in a lawsuit against the city and three arresting officers last week, but remained committed to helping his neighbor.

“He hasn’t quit. My wife said she didn’t want to water it [any] more because of what happened, ”said Malim. “She told him not to worry about it, but he didn’t want to. He still cared [of the flowers] when we were gone.

I’m talking to IndependentMr. Jennings’s attorney Harry Daniels said the incident left his client scarred and anxious about law enforcement. He said Jennings was very present in the community as a pastor at Vision of Abundant Life Church in Sylacauga, a town 10 miles north of Childersburg.

The lawsuit dismissed the actions of officials and the city violated Mr. Jenning’s constitutional rights protecting him from unlawful arrest and guaranteeing freedom of speech.

Mr. Malim said he was shocked to hear his friend, Pastor Michael Jennings, who was arrested while watering flowers

(Ray Malim)

Mr. Malim said Mr. Jennings is respected in the community and relies on him every time he has to leave town, so he was shocked to hear that the pastor had been arrested while watering his plants.

“We left the day he was arrested. We went to Gatlinburg and we had a camper, ”said Mr Malim Independent. “We left for a while, and when we got back to the camper, his wife called my wife to tell her he had been arrested.”

“My wife was nervous and wanted to go home. I was also nervous. “

Mr. Malim and Mr. Jennings met seven years ago when the pastor moved to the neighborhood

(Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The incident reportedly had a profound impact on the pastor

(Childersburg Police Department by AP)

But after paying $ 500 bail the same day, Jennings returned to the Malim home the next day and watered their garden until they returned five days later, as planned.

“He said that… [will continue my flowers]. He will definitely do it, ”added Malim. “He’s a guy, I trust him to look after the house and I care for everyone. He’s a good guy.

A body camera video released in August showed officers confronting Mr. Jennings as he watered the lawn after calling 911.

“What are you doing here, man?” an officer identified later, as asked Chris Smith as he approached Mr. Jennings, who was watering the plants in the courtyard of the property.

Mr. Jennings introduced himself as Pastor Jennings and explained to the officers that he was looking after the property while his neighbor was out of town. He refused to ID the officers and was arrested on suspicion of obstructing a government operation.

His phone was also confiscated during a 20-minute confrontation.

Under Alabama law, officers may request a person’s name, address, and “explanation of what they act” if there is reasonable suspicion that they have committed or intend to commit a crime.

Mr. Daniels said Independent his client was not obliged to disclose his name to law enforcement officials, but he did so regardless.

The pastor’s attorney said his client was not required to introduce himself to the police

(Childersburg Police Department by AP)

“Every time the police come out, you have to identify yourself because there is a reasonable suspicion …” in the video, you can hear one officer say.

The neighbor who called told the officers that she had made a mistake and that Mr. Jennings was friends with the owners of the house and probably watered their flowers while they were out of town.

Officers then spoke to Mr. Jennings’s wife, who showed his ID, but told her that it was too late and that Mr. Jennings could not be ‘not arrested’. The charges against the parish priest were dropped within days at the request of the then chief of police.

The suit features Officers Smith and Justin Gable, and Sergeant Jeremy Brooks. Mr. Jennings has requested a jury trial and is seeking indefinite damages.

Jennings said at a press conference held Saturday with the NAACP that he felt as if he had been kidnapped during his arrest.

“He made me feel like a slave,” Jennings said of the officer. “There is a bad police and there is a good police, what they did that day they did with impunity.”

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