white women

Marc Peeples is a Detroiter who had three white women call the police on him for “gardening while black.” Now, he’s suing.

When dismissing the case, 36th District Court Judge E. Lynise Bryant wasn’t kind to the women — Deborah Nash, Martha Callahan and  Jennifer Morris. The case of the women, who fraudulently claimed Peeples was a pedophile who threatened Nash with a gun, was called “troubling” and “ridiculous” by the judge.

“[The three white women] should be sitting at the defendant’s table for stalking and harassment charges, not Mr. Peeples,” Bryant said during the hearing. “This is disgusting and a waste of the court’s time and resources.”

Judge Bryant went even further with her criticism of the three white women who made the complaint.

“I found their testimony to be offensive,” she said.

And Peeples has decided to sue Nash, Callahan and Morris, seeking $300,000 in damages. His complaint alleges that the women acted “concertedly to cause [Peeples] economic harm and emotional distress” and engaged in “targeted harassment of [Peeples] for more than nine months.” Further, it claims “the conspiracy was to get Marc incarcerated or seriously injured by law enforcement.”

Nash, Callahan and Morris fit into a larger pattern of white people (mostly white women) calling police on black people doing ordinary daily activities. From shopping, babysitting, barbecuing, selling water, not waving at white people, golfing, moving into a nice apartment, and a litany of other ordinary activities. In schools, black students are more likely to be arrested for standard disciplinary issues than white students.

There are consequences to this trend. Not just in how communities of color raise their children, but for the innocent people of color like Peeples, even when their cases are dismissed like his was.

“I was arrested in front of children, and even after I was arrested my name was still being slandered, people were still saying things about me that wasn’t true,” Peeples said. “I wanted to hold people accountable. I was locked up, I had to face trial, and I had to put my life back together.”

Although Peeples did find a silver lining in the whole ordeal — it has drawn attention to what he actually was doing in the community garden that day.

He was building a community garden at the abandoned playground in Detroit’s Hunt Park. The day of his arrest, he was there teaching homeschooled children about gardening at the site.

He plans to return to build out the gardens at Hunt Park, which has now been renamed Liberated Farms. It will be part of the STEM curriculum of area schools, and Peeples plans to add playground equipment.

A GoFundMe for Peeples that went live in October is, in part, funding the continued growth of the community farming project.


Katelyn Kivel is a contributing editor and senior legal reporter for Grit Post in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynKivel.


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