For more than a year, three white women made Marc Peeples’ life hell—all for the sin of building a community garden in their Detroit neighborhood.
As the Detroit Metro Times reports, throughout 2017 and early 2018, the women harassed Peeples, who is black, and called the police on him multiple times, alleging that he was a pedophile; threatened one of them with a gun; vandalized neighborhood homes and even claimed he took part in a drive-by shooting.
Eventually, Detroit police—for some still inexplicable reason—filed stalking charges against him. Peeples and the women—of whom only one, Deborah Nash, has been named—went to court. But on Tuesday, District Court Judge E. Lynise Bryant threw the case out, calling the debacle “disgusting” and “a waste of the court’s time and resources.”
“[The three white women] should be sitting at the defendant’s table for stalking and harassment charges, not Mr. Peeples,” Bryant said at the hearing, according to the Metro Times.
Among the many allegations,Nash and the other two white women launched against Peeples was a claim that he threatened Nash with a gun—a charge deemed by a Detroit police officer who responded to Nash’s call as “B.S.”
From the Metro Times:
Officer responding to the scene found Peeples raking leaves and cleaning up a vacant lot. In body camera footage provided to Metro Times, an officer is heard labeling the call “B.S.”
“Ain’t no law against raking leaves,” the officer is heard stating on body camera footage taken after officers are done investigating the incident. A few minutes later, an officer directed his partner to let DPD superiors know that the women told police that Peeples had a gun, when he only had a rake.
The women also accused Peeples of vandalizing vacant neighborhood homes and trees with “gang” colors: red, black, and green. Peeples’ attorneys clarified that the colors were pan-African colors and that the avid gardener boarded up the vacant houses to keep drug addicts out.
According to the Metro Times, when the false claim that Peeples had a gun didn’t get him removed from the neighborhood, the women ramped up their charges, waiting until Peebles had a group of children working in his community garden before calling the police and claiming he was a pedophile.
Once the women and Peeples went to trial, however, that claim fell apart:
One of the women told the court she learned from a principal at a nearby school that Peeples was a pedophile who wasn’t supposed to be around kids. However, [Peeple’s attorney] Burton-Harris called that a “blatant lie.” Peeples was teaching homeschool children about gardening, Burton-Harris said, and principals at nearby schools wouldn’t have known Peeples or the garden. Prosecution provided no corroboration from an alleged principal.
Peeples says it’s clear that the women would do whatever it took to get him off “their” block.
“It was blatant racism. They didn’t like the fact that a black man was in so-called ‘their’ neighborhood without their permission,” Peeples told the Metro Times. And even though he’s free and vindicated by the court, the women have already wrought substantial damage—to his wallet and his reputation.
Peeples set up a GoFundMe page to help recoup some of the money he’s lost paying a bond and attorneys, as well as for work contracts he lost dealing with the women’s false claims.
“It’s frustrating to have accusations placed on you with no merit, and they get you all the way into court to go to trial,” Peeples said.
“People are giving these ladies funny nicknames but this is serious,” he said. “This is my life, what these people are doing is not cute—it’s ugly.
“They get to ruin my life, say anything they want, and then they get to go on with their lives.”
Judge Bryant, in dismissing the case, also chastised Detroit PD and the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office for bringing the case forward to begin with.
“I want the police and prosecutors to do a better job of vetting,” she said.