Detroit pastor cuffed outside his church during ‘church jacking'

Pastor Lorenzo Sewell has been the head of the congregation for five years at 180 Church in Detroit. But he recently found himself in handcuffs outside the building in what he says was a "church jacking".

Sewell walked us through one of the most difficult days of his life – which was captured on surveillance video. The pastor believes someone drilled into the lock of an entrance of the church and got inside so he rushed to the church – but was stopped by a police officer. 

"He's trying to stop me from going into the building. He’s asking me who I am. I tell him my name is on the building." Sewell said. "He’s walking me off in handcuffs."

Sewell said he felt violated.

"Not for me, but for people that look like me that don’t have Todd Perkins as their attorney. Pastors that don’t have relationships," he said.

It was June 7 when a man drilled into the lock of an entrance of the church and he rushed over. Sewell said he believes a group previously associated with the church took over its building, bank account, and business entities in what he's calling a "church jacking."

"It’s just the power of privilege. I believe that when you are white and you have power, you feel like ‘I own this’. Instead of saying 'Wow he’s been the pastor for five years'," Sewell said.

With his attorney's help, he got his church back and filed a police report and complaint with his bank. He says the bigger issue is how police treated him in his community.

"(It's) painful because we’re an advocate for the cops. We do Faith in Blue. We do jazz concerts. We just played basketball with them the day before in the community," he said. "The first thing is we need to deal with the culture of policing in the Blackest city in America. That’s number one. Number two: we need to be willing to say listen we need to build bridges of trust with our community instead of suspecting the worst out of our community. And number three, we need to continue to serve. Let the past be the past and serve our community."

FOX 2 reached out to Detroit Police for comment on this story but we did not hear back in time.