A Black pastor sues the police who arrested him while watering his neighbors’ flowers

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By Jonathan Franklin, NPR

Michael Jennings was watering a neighbor’s flowers when the cops showed up and placed him under arrest. (Childersburg Police Department via AP)

Michael Jennings, the Black pastor arrested while watering his neighbor’s flowers, has filed a federal lawsuit against the police officers involved in his detainment.

The lawsuit also names the city of Childersburg, which oversees the police department that arrested Jennings, as a defendant.

Jennings, a longtime pastor at Vision of Abundant Life Church in Sylacauga, Ala., is represented 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.

The lawsuit says Jennings is suffering with emotional distress and “significant PTSD type symptoms” that include nightmares and flashbacks.

He is asking for a jury to hear the case and to determine compensatory and punitive damages as well as money to cover the costs of the lawsuit, including attorneys’ fees.

Alabama NAACP President Benard Simelton said in a statement to NPR that there are concerns about the officers’ training.

“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,” he added.

The attorneys representing Jennings said the release of the body camera video will furthermore clear the way for “legal action against the officers and more.”

Learn more about this case.

Black folks are subjected to arrest–and worse–leading some people to wonder if they’re really free at last.

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