Detroit man escapes jail time for gardening while Black

Detroit man escapes jail time for gardening while Black
Marc Peeples (Image Source: Go Fund Me)

There is a toll being used as a form of racial intimidation by many fearful White people across the country; it is 911. Throughout 2018, Americans have witnessed numerous encounters of Whites who feel threatened, fearful or just plain mad that Black people who are just living their lives. In Detroit, Michigan, it happened to Marc Peeples simply because he was gardening.

It’s a convoluted story that involves a community garden and three unidentified White women who targeted Peeples, according to the Detroit Metro Times. For over a year, Peeples tended to a community garden that Deborah Nash, a White neighbor, just did not like. So she and two of her friends started a campaign of harassment that included calling the police and making false reports. These allegations included claiming he was part of a gang because trees were painted in the Black liberation colors of red, black and green, saying he was vandalizing houses, claiming he was involved in a drive-by shooting and even labeling Peeples a pedophile because one day he had children working in the garden. Police were even called on him over the accusation that he was brandishing a firearm while he was raking leaves.

On that occasion, when Detroit police responded, the officer on the scene was incredulous against the accusation. “Ain’t no law against raking leaves,” the officer was recorded stating on his body camera. “The guy didn’t have anything on him and wasn’t wanted for anything. They went to the end of the deal with this B.S., too.”

Despite there being no truth to any of the allegations, Peeples found himself charged with three counts of stalking by the Wayne County Prosecutors Office and was arrested. According to a GoFundMe page created by Peeples’ supporters, “This man has lost wages, contracts, business opportunities etc. He has spent thousands on bonds, fee, and lawyers. These women have taken farm supplies and done everything in their power to prevent this community garden from happening. We appreciate all donations to improve the farm (that has been sitting idle for SEVEN MONTHS as this man fought for his rights). These women harassed this man for over a year, it should have never even made it this far, but it did and we are moving forward in rebuilding our community.”

Finally, his day in court came last week and the women who filed false charges against him gave testimony that infuriated the court. Judge E. Lynise Bryant of the 36th District Court called the charges against Peeples “troubling” and “ridiculous.”

Judge Bryant went on to state, “The [three white women] should be sitting at the defendant’s table for stalking and harassment charges, not Mr. Peeples. This is disgusting and a waste of the court’s time and resources,” and then granted the defense’s motion for a directed verdict, which closed the case before going to a jury.

Judge Bryant later stated to the Detroit Metro Times, “[The court] found the women filed false police reports, initiated all contact with Peeples, and ‘engaged in a very targeted and constant harassment of the young man’ that appeared to be racially motivated… I found their testimony to be offensive…”

Peeples for his part stated, “It was blatant racism. They didn’t like the fact that a Black man was in so-called ‘their’ neighborhood without their permission… It’s frustrating to have accusations placed on you with no merit, and they get you all the way into court to go to trial. If someone believed their story and I was found guilty, I would be in county jail doing up to a year just because they don’t want … a Black person in their area. They get to ruin my life, say anything they want, and then they get to go on with their lives.”

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Join our Newsletter

Sign up for Rolling Out news straight to your inbox.

Read more about:

Also read

Watch this video

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
Receive the latest news

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter

Get notified about new articles