This week, video footage of Jennings’ arrest on May 22 was released, "clearing the way for legal action against the officers," his attorneys said in a statement.
During the 20-minute-long video, an officer from the Childersburg Police Department approached Jennings as he was standing on the side of the home watering plants. The officer asked him what he was doing and Jennings responded, "watering flowers."
"I'm supposed to be here. I'm Pastor Jennings. I live across the street," Jennings explained as he continued to water the flowers. "I'm looking out for the house while they’re gone."
Jennings has served as pastor at the Vision of Abundant Life Church for more than 30 years.
When the officer asks for identification, Jennings refused to provide it, telling the officer that he was innocent of all wrongdoing. He also informed the officer that he was a former law enforcement official.
"You want to lock me up. Lock me up. I'm not showing y'all anything," Jennings said. "I'm gonna continue watering these flowers...I don't care who called y'all. Lock me up and see what happens."
As Jennings tried to walk away, the officers followed him, and the officer who first approached Jennings arrested him, the video shows.
Jennings was charged with obstructing government operations. The charge was dropped a month later, in June.
It was revealed that officers were originally called to the scene because another one of Jennings' neighbors, a white woman, called the 9-1-1 and described him as a “suspicious person.”
After realizing that it was Jennings outside the home, she offered him an apology. She told the authorities that he lived close by and “that she wouldn’t have been surprised if her neighbors had asked him to water their flowers while they were away.”
“They are friends, and they went out of town today,” she said. “He may be watering their flowers. It would be completely normal. This is probably my fault.”
Jennings' legal team stated they are seeking justice on behalf of their client.
"This video makes it clear that these officers decided they were going to arrest Pastor Jennings less than five minutes after pulling up and then tried to rewrite history claiming he hadn’t identified himself when that was the first thing he did," his attorney's joint statement read. "This was not only an unlawful arrest. It’s kidnapping. It’s irrational, irresponsible, and illegal."
Under Alabama law, an officer "may stop any person abroad in a public place" if they suspect that person is committing, has committed, or is about to commit a crime.
Jennings' lawyers said their client did not have to provide identification "because he was not in a public place.”
"Chief McClelland and the Childersburg Police Department may think all they have to do is drop the charges and this all goes away," said Bethaney Embry Jones, one of Jennings' attorneys. "This was a crime, not a mistake. I would hope that the Childersburg Police Department would understand the difference."
After the ordeal, Jennings said he’s considering filing a racial discrimination lawsuit against the department and he wants to do something “that prevents someone else from going through what he has endured.”
“It’s been exhausting,” he said, “and I just really hope there’ll be some change.”