Neighbor Calls The Police On Pastor Watering Neighbor’s Garden, Then He Gets Arrested

Good Morning America

Michael Jennings is a pastor at a church in Alabama. When his neighbors asked him to take care of their flowers while they were away, he was more than happy to. However, while he was watering the blooms one of the days they weren’t home, someone called the police thinking he might’ve been intruding. Jennings was then arrested on obstruction charges after refusing to give officers his ID.

When the Childersburg police officers arrived at the house, they asked him to identify himself. approached the house and asked Jennings to identify himself. Jennings told the officers that he was a pastor but that he didn’t have to provide his ID or tell them him name. He became agitated with them and told them to just lock him up. “Lock me up and see what happens, I want you to,” he said.

As Jennings was being handcuffed, the other neighbor who made the call about the “suspicious” activity approached Jennings and the officer. She realized that it was Jennings and admitted that she called when she wasn’t sure who it was.

“They are friends, and they went out of town today, so he may be watering their flowers, it’d be completely normal,” she told them officers. “This is probably my fault.”

Jennings believed he was racially profiled. “The way y’all handled this situation was totally wrong,” he said. “You racially profiled . . . I told ya’ll I was here watering the flowers . . . I had the water hose in my hand.”

Though Jennings dd get booked into jail, he was later released and the charges were dropped. However, his attorneys were not satisfied with how the situation went down. “This was a crime, not a mistake,” said one of his attorneys, Bethany Embry Jones. “I would hope that the Childersburg Police Department would understand the difference.”

Alabama state law does require people to provide their name and address, as well as explain their actions in the case of reasonable suspicion. However, this only applies to public property, not a private residence.

“Once you were told by the neighbor that she had messed up, the only possible reason you now have to continue holding him under arrest is that he violated that law requiring people to identify themselves, right? But you have two problems,” said Clark Neily, senior vice president for Legal Studies at the Cato Institute. “Problem one, this was not in public, this was on private property, so arguably the statute doesn’t apply and you actually didn’t have the authority. And second, he did identify himself.”

“Last I checked, watering roses ain’t no crime,” Jennings said.

To see live footage from the incident and hear from Jennings himself, check out the video below.

Who do you think is in the wrong here?