The women falsely reported that Marc Peeples, who was teaching a group of home-schooled children about gardening, was a convicted pedophile who could not legally be around children.
The Black Detroit man who was reported to the police by three white women for creating a community garden is suing the white women for repeatedly filing false police reports and accusing him of crimes he never committed.
Marc Peeples, 33, filed the lawsuit last week against the women who he says fabricated complaints against him to Detroit police from July 2017 to May 2018 because was “gardening while Black.”
Peeples is an urban gardener who spent years transforming an overgrown Detroit park into a flower and produce garden for the whole community. For one year, the women, who were identified by NBC News as Deborah Nash, Martha Callahan and Callahan’s granddaughter, Jennifer Morris, tried to get him “incarcerated or seriously injured by law enforcement,” according to the lawsuit filed.
All of the women live near the park, and while Peeples did grow up close to the area, he now lives in a different community.
Last year, the women took their complaints to administrators at the Detroit Police Department, where they cited a list of false accusations, including Peeples had stolen from homes near the park, he threatened to burn down their homes, he threatened to kill them, and other accusations, according to the lawsuit.
In May 2018, Peeples was teaching a group of home-schooled children about gardening when Callahan called 911 and told authorities that he was a convicted pedophile who was legally forbidden from being near children.
When police responded, Peeples was arrested in front of them.
Peeples told NBC News that he has never been accused of or charged with such crimes.
As a result of their erroneous claims, Peeples was charged with three counts of stalking.
At his trial in October 2018, District Judge E. Lynise Bryant dismissed the case before it went to the jury, describing it as “disgusting” and “a waste of the court’s time and resources.”
The judge said the women “should be sitting at the defendant’s table for stalking and harassment charges,” not Peeples.
The lawsuit also claims that Peeples suffered economic injury, including lost job opportunities and canceled contracts, because of the charges. He is seeking $300,000 in damages, as well as attorneys’ fees and other costs.
Peeples said Tuesday that he did not garden at the park during the trial and is now happy to be doing what he loves.
“Since the trial went the way that it went, it actually has been a positive by bringing light to what I’m doing in the community,” he said.
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March 12, 2019
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