Detroit man files lawsuit against women who called police on him in 'gardening while black' case

Posted at 9:16 AM, Mar 05, 2019

DETROIT — Three white women who live on Detroit's east side lied to police when they reported that Marc Peeples threatened to burn down their houses and kill them, according to a lawsuit that has now been filed by defense attorney Robert Burton-Harris, who is representing Peeples in a civil suit.

Burton-Harris has called it a case of "gardening while black."

Peeples had started small gardens in Hunt Park on Detroit's east side. The women live near the park and it's the same neighborhood Peeples grew up in.

In the lawsuit, it's alleged that Deborah Nash, Martha Callahan, and Callahan's granddaughter, Jennifer Morris, "conspired to accuse Marc of various crimes that they knew or had reason to know he did not commit."

Peeples and his attorney accuse the women of conspiring to keep him away from the park and "get Marc incarcerated or seriously injured by law enforcement."

The women's claims against Peeples resulted in him being charged with three counts of stalking.

But in October 2018, 36th District Court Judge E. Lynise Bryant acquitted Peeples, siding with the urban gardener in a directed verdict. Bryant said the allegations against Peeples were largely based on race and she accused the women of harassing Peeples.

Peeples is now suing for $300,000 plus attorney fees and other costs.

"They just want to control any and everything they see," Peeples told WXYZ Monday. "They don't want to see a young black man coming up, doing something positive.

"Why don't I deserve retribution for my name being, you know, thrown through the mud?" he said. "My name just deserves to be thrown in the mud without any recourse for me? I don't get my day in court?"

WXYZ contacted the women and they declined to comment.