Atlanta-based attorney Bethaney Embry Jones is one of the lawyers representing Alabama pastor Michael Jennings after he was wrongfully arrested by Childersburg police. Jones is an exceptional lawyer who specializes in civil rights and personal injury cases.
In May 2022, Pastor Jennings was arrested while standing outside next to a residence watering plants. Police approached him after they purportedly received a call about a suspicious person at the residence. When asked if he lived there, Pastor Jennings stated that he lived across the street and that he was watering plants for his neighbors while they were not home.
Police officers asked Pastor Jennings for his identification, which he refused to provide. Instead, he stated that he did nothing wrong. Media outlets report that Pastor Jennings argued that he “..didn’t care who called y’all. Lock me up and see what happens.” Ultimately, Pastor Jennings was placed in handcuffs for refusing to provide identification.
As the ordeal unfolded, the neighbor who called 911 came to the scene. The neighbor is a White woman who reportedly called 911 because she didn’t immediately recognize Pastor Jennings. Once she realized who it was at the residence, she apologized and even tried to diffuse the situation with the police. Unfortunately, Pastor Jennings was arrested anyway. He was charged with obstructing government operations.
The seemingly small-town case is drawing nationwide attention amid claims of racial profiling and officers violating state laws.
While the charges were ultimately dismissed, the case continues to draw nationwide attention.
Bethaney Embry Jones states, “This was a crime, not a mistake. I would hope that the Childersburg Police Department would understand the difference.” Harry Daniels, another one of Pastor Jennings’ lawyers, says, “This was not only an unlawful arrest. It’s kidnapping.”
Now, Daniels and Embry Jones are fighting back, arguing that the actions of the police were not just excessive – they were illegal. Alabama law allows police officers to stop anyone in a public place if they have a suspicion that a crime is occurring, or is about to occur. However, Pastor Jennings was not in a public place. He was at a residence and had permission to be there.
Legal action against the Childersburg Police Department is reportedly “forthcoming.”