His Act Of Kindness Ended Up With Him In Handcuffs

flowers being watered outside
Zain Murdock
September 9, 2022

56-year-old Pastor Michael Jennings was only watering his neighbor's flowers while he was gone. But when his other white neighbor grew suspicious, police were on their way.

"Here we go," said Jennings. Recent victims of police misconduct flashed through his mind, including his son. Unfortunately, he'd soon join them.

"What you doing here, man?" an officer asked. Jennings, still watering, stated the obvious, explaining he was a pastor who lived across the street. 

But he still ended up handcuffed in a police car - even after the white woman who called the cops told them she recognized him.

The irony? On the drive to jail, one officer had the audacity to ask Jennings to pray for him.

In Alabama, police can stop anyone in public if they suspect "criminal" behavior, demanding their name, address, and what they're up to. Jennings wasn't even in a public place, but this speaks to the overall surveillance of Black life. 

After all, civilians like his neighbor who dialed 911 feel emboldened to police us, too. 

It doesn't matter what we do - even in acts of kindness, the police system will find ways to criminalize our Blackness. To let us know that we "don't belong." But it's cops who don't belong in the future we deserve - a future where kindness isn't punished, and we keep each other safe.

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