A Black Alabama pastor was arrested while watering plants for a neighbor who was traveling out of town.
Michael Jennings, the preacher at Vision of Abundant Life Ministries in Sylacauga, was doing a favor for his neighbor after church services on Sunday, and another neighbor called police to report a suspicious person on the property, reported WIAT-TV.
“My neighbor goes out of town a lot and they wanted me to watch their house and keep their flowers watered,” Jennings said.
The Childersburg man said he explained who he was and what he was doing, but Jennings said he wasn't carrying any identification at the time.
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“He said, ‘Give me some ID’, [and] I said ‘No, I don’t have to give no ID because there ain’t no crime been committed,' I said, 'but what I will do is I’ll tell you I am Pastor Jennings, and I live right across the street right there, and I said, 'you can go ask my wife,'" Jennings said.
He continued watering the plants, but he said tensions escalated when a third officer, identified as a sergeant, arrived at the scene.
“He got out of the car, he’s already fired up," Jennings said. "I’m telling them, ‘You’re making a mistake, this is wrong, what y’all are doing,’” Jennings said.
That apparently angered the sergeant, who ordered him to remain quiet.
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"'Shut up and listen, you talk too much,’" the sergeant said, according to Jennings. "I said, ‘You don’t tell me to shut up, boy, I’m a grown man.'"
‘You going to jail, that’s it," the sergeant said, according to Jennings. "Lock him up.’”
The neighbor who reported Jennings told police that she had made a mistake and begged them not to arrest him, after recognizing him as a friend and neighbor, but the pastor was still charged with obstructing governmental operations and booked into the Talladega County jail.
“Last I checked," said Jennings, who has since been released, "watering roses ain’t no crime."
“You see all the people, blacks being arrested for some of the most silly stuff, but being arrested for watering flowers?" the pastor added. "It was embarrassing. In the middle of the neighborhood with all the disrespect I got, being handcuffed and took off, neighbors down there was coming out they house."
The incident remains under an internal investigation by Childersburg police.
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