Marc Peeples was tilling an overgrown garden for nearly two years to transform a half-abandoned area of Detroit into a little vegetable garden.
But the 32-year-old urban farmer, who is African American, became yet another victim of racial harassment.
Peeples was accused of an unspeakable crime: "gardening while black."
His accusers were three White women who live across the street facing the park where Peeples tended to the garden.
A personal redemptive mission to create a garden after three years in prison on drug charges landed Marc Peeples in… https://t.co/n33zA7zyBJ— In Lorton's Darkroom (@In Lorton's Darkroom)1540652026.0
Peeples's garden project taught local kids about urban horticulture. It was his personal mission for redemption after serving three years in prison for drug charges.
He also painted some trees in the pan-African colors of red, black, and green. Peeples boarded up vacant homes to deter crackheads from loitering in the neighborhood, according to his lawyer.
@AdrienneLaw @sahluwal Respect to Marc Peeples for the community gardening effort. Utterly despicable that he'd be… https://t.co/UHB8u2TD1G— Joe Papp (@Joe Papp)1540409031.0
Throughout 2017 and 2018, police received dozens of calls from the three women.
Their distress calls were reminiscent of the all-too-familiar instances of black people having police called on them for doing mundane activities.
The despicable tattling usually involves White "neighborhood monitors" harassing people of color.
Posted footage from the confrontation often becomes viral where the accusers are given alliterative monikers, like BBQ Becky and Permit Patty.
Should BBQ Becky, Cornerstore Caroline, Key fob Katie and Coupon Carl face criminal charges for calling the police… https://t.co/lbDdvR4ht0— The Tylt (@The Tylt)1540656082.0
But this case was different, according to the New York Times.
This time, the victim was arrested and taken to court.
When the police didn't respond to illegal gardening and vandalism charges, the women began fabricating more serious charges to get their attention.
According to the Times, Deborah Nash, Martha Callahan and her granddaughter, Jennifer Morris, accused Peeples of threatening the women to burn their houses down and ordering them to leave the neighborhood for being White.
The women made other egregious, unfounded claims, including accusing Peeples of participating in a drive-by-shooting and of being a pedophile.
One of the women even claimed he pulled on gun on her, which proved to be a blatant lie.
3 Racist white women called police dozens of times, making increasingly serious allegations against Marc Peeples, a… https://t.co/2x7AQhAGXc— TheRealRemyRedd (@TheRealRemyRedd)1540523131.0
I don’t care if #MarcPeeples may have said something vaguely threatening to these women. If they knowingly made fal… https://t.co/2xhipCjJl8— Joe (@Joe)1540586612.0
On Tuesday, 36th District Court Judge E. Lynise Bryant threw out the case, calling it "troubling" and "ridiculous," according to the Detroit Metro Times.
During the hearing, Bryant said:
"[The three white women] should be sitting at the defendant's table for stalking and harassment charges, not Mr. Peeples. This is disgusting and a waste of the court's time and resources."
Peeples said that the women were intent on removing him from the block.
And even though he won the case, Peeple's said that the women ruined his life.
"It was blatant racism. They didn't like the fact that a black man was in so-called 'their' neighborhood without their permission."
@wxyzdetroit Heartbreaking!💔— Casi (@Casi)1540182626.0
The ordeal cost him a $3,500 bond, legal fees and he lost work contacts during the process.
"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."
"If someone believed their story and I was found guilty, I would be in county jail doing up to a year just because they don't want ... a black person in their area."
"They get to ruin my life, say anything they want, and then they get to go on with their lives."
People sympathetic to Peeple's situation set up a GoFundMe page to help him get back on his feet.
@TalbertSwan Farming. Marc Peeples was reported for farming. https://t.co/GRsazRclrq But, at least the GoFundMe… https://t.co/BDJEZcv2ZY— 🕊#SandersTurner2020🕊🇵🇸🇾🇪 (@🕊#SandersTurner2020🕊🇵🇸🇾🇪)1540269683.0
https://t.co/puKUkNL3UO #DeborahNash #JenniferMorris #MarthaCallahan Those are the WW names. They ARE racist and… https://t.co/vBhtMd3UqD— EZ (@EZ)1540150404.0
Please donate. This is the very beginning of helping this Hero put this disgraceful ordeal behind him as well as he… https://t.co/QVBW8xIFl0— Unique Hydrogen (@Unique Hydrogen)1540148524.0
If you can give $5 or $10, it goes a long way to restoring this work. Pays legal bills, pays for new equipment, pay… https://t.co/OmdQHmn2nV— stephen matlock (@stephen matlock)1539969988.0
"People are giving these ladies funny nicknames but this is serious," Peeples later said.
"This is my life, what these people are doing is not cute — it's ugly."