CHILDERSBURG, Ala. (WIAT) — A week after a pastor was arrested while watering a neighbor’s flowers in his neighborhood in Childersburg, the charges against him have now been dropped.
In a statement released Thursday, Childersburg Police Chief Richard B. McClelland announced that after an investigation, he had requested that all charges be dropped against Michael Jennings, pastor at Vision of Abundant Life Ministries in Sylacauga.
On May 22, police were called to a house on 5th Court Southwest regarding a report of a “suspicious gold SUV” with a man on another person’s property. Arriving at the scene, officers met with Jennings, who said he was watering his neighbor’s flowers.
During an interview with CBS 42, Jennings said officers asked him for ID, but he did not have any on him.
“He said, ‘Give me some ID’, 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,” said Jennings.
Jennings said that as he continued to water the plants, a third officer was called to the scene.
“He got out of the car. He’s already fired up. I’m telling them, ‘You’re making a mistake, this is wrong what y’all are doing,’” Jennings recalled. He said the sergeant yelled back, “’Shut up and listen. You talk too much.’ I said, ‘You don’t tell me to shut up boy. I’m a grown man,’ ‘You going to jail, that’s it. Lock him up.’”
Jennings was arrested and charged with obstructing government operations.
In his statement, McClelland said he reviewed the 911 call and officer body camera footage, as well as interviewed officers who responded to the scene.
“As a result of my investigation, I have recommended to the Municipal Judge of the City of Childersburg that the warrant be dismissed with prejudice and the Judge has dismissed the aforementioned charge against Michael Jennings,” McClelland said in a statement.
Jennings said he was happy that the charges against him had been dropped.
“The thing is the thing it put me through was totally unnecessary and they had no case,” Jennings said.
Jennings said the fallout from his arrest was a nightmare, one where he worried what the impact would be on his life and job. One website, BustedTalladegaCounty.com, put his mugshot online after his arrest.
“A lot of folks are going to believe that, think he is a crook,” he said.
For now, Jennings said he is working on getting his life back to normal.