Detroit man files lawsuit in ‘gardening while black’ case

by Kim Boateng Posted on March 6th, 2019

Detroit, Michigan: Marc Peeples, a 33-year old Black man from Detroit, is filing a lawsuit against three white women who repeatedly reported him to police just to get rid of him in a public park. In the case described as “gardening while black,” the women falsely accused him of being a pedophile and even threatening to kill them.

Peeples claims in the lawsuit filed in Michigan state court last week that the three women — Deborah Nash, Martha Callahan, and Callahan’s granddaughter, Jennifer Morris — “conspired to accuse” him of “various crimes that they knew or had reason to know he did not commit” to ultimately get him “incarcerated or seriously injured by law enforcement.”
Peeples said it started when he built a small community garden at Hunt Park, a public park in their neighborhood. He also helped other people cut grass and secure their abandoned property.

Apparently, the three women “had prior plans” for the park and “did not want [Peeples] in the area at all,” the lawsuit stated. So they filed numerous police reports from July 2017 to May 2018 accusing Peeples of several crimes, including stealing from homes, carrying weapons, and threatening to burn down their homes and kill them.

In another incident, while Peeples was teaching home-schooled students about gardening, Callahan called 911 to report that he was a convicted pedophile who was not legally allowed to be around children. That resulted to him being arrested in front of the children and charged with three counts of stalking.

After Peeples was arrested and banned from the park, the women destroyed what he planted in the garden and requested permission from the city to “implement their own projects” at the Hunt Park.

His case was eventually dismissed at his trial in October 2018 where the judge described the case as “disgusting” and “a waste of the court’s time and resources.” Despite that, the three women continued spreading false accusations against Peeples.

The lawsuit accuses the women of malicious prosecution, abuse of process, intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation and civil distress. It also claims he suffered economic injury and demands the women pay $300,000 in damages, as well as attorneys’ fees and other costs.

Meanwhile, Peeples is now planning to establish a new garden. A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to support him in further improving the farm and other expenses. For four months, donations keep on flowing and he has so far garnered about $55,000, which is over 10 times bigger than the initial $5,000 goal.

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