A Detroit man has filed a lawsuit accusing three white women of fabricating serious but bogus claims against him to the police in a dispute his lawyer calls a case of “gardening while black.”
In his complaint, Marc Peeples claims the women repeatedly lied to police in an effort to boot him from Hunt Park, a green space on the city’s east side where he had built out an urban garden, according to the Detroit Metro Times. The women — Deborah Nash, Martha Callahan and Callahan’s granddaughter Jennifer Morris — live just minutes from the area.
The lawsuit, filed by attorney Robert Burton-Harris, accuses the women of conspiring to “accuse Marc of various crimes that they knew, [or] had reason to know he did not commit.” In one instance, they told Detroit police Peeples had threatened to burn down their homes and kill them.
The women reportedly had their own plans for the park and were willing to do whatever they could to keep the urban gardener away and “incarcerated or seriously injured” by police, the suit alleges. Their false claims ultimately led to Peeples getting arrested and charged with three counts of stalking.
“They just want to control any and everything they see,” he told WXYX Detroit on Monday, recalling the racist harassment. “They don’t want to see a young black man coming up and doing something positive.”
“Why don’t I deserve retribution for my name being, you know, thrown through the mud?” Peeples added. “My name just deserves to be thrown in the mud without any recourse for me? I don’t get my day in court?”
In October 2018, a Wayne County Circuit Court judge acquitted Peeples of the charges after finding that the women’s allegations were largely based on race. Additionally, the judge accused the ladies of harassing Peeples, calling their claims “fabricated” and said they had lied under oath.
Police body camera video obtained by Burton-Harris also showed a Detroit officer who had responded to one of their calls brushing off their claims as “BS,” the Detroit Metro Times reported.
The complaint filed in circuit court last week accuses Nash, Callahan and Morris of working “concertedly to cause economic harm and emotional distress” and engaged in “targeted harassment of [Peeples] for more than nine months.” It goes on to describe the women’s actions as “extreme, malicious, wanton, and outrageous.”
Among their allegations to police, the trio claimed Peeples had threatened violence against them. Nash specifically alleged that the Detroit man had attempted a drive-by shooting on her home and claimed the pan-African colors he had painted on nearby vacant homes were “gang colors.”
In March 2018, she called police as Peeples worked in the park near her home, claiming he had a gun. Police arrived to find him raking leaves instead. After all other attempts to have Peeples removed fell flat, Hunt and Callahan reportedly waited until he was working with children in the garden to call police and tell them he was a pedophile, which is untrue.
Peeples is now seeking $300,000 in damages, in addition to attorney’s fees and other costs. Burton-Harris said he and his client are pushing for “consequences” against the three women.
“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 told the Metro Times. “I wanted to hold people accountable. I was locked up, I had to face trial, and I had to put my life back together.”
Watch more in the video below.