DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – At Kirkwood Temple CME Church, more than 150 people gathered to pray for and show support for Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price a week after the FBI executed search warrants at Price’s office and home.
Pastor Jerry Christian organized the service, and insisted it wasn’t a political rally.
“It’s about praying… It’s supporting John Wiley Price – he’s been such an influential part of our community and done great things.”
But once the program began, the mood on the pulpit changed. Reverend Frederick Haynes of Friendship Baptist Church, one of the area’s largest churches, railed against the FBI’s investigation. “Is it not amazing that last week as we inaugurated a new administration, something was going on down by way of gestapo-like tactics, which gave birth to a witch-hunt that presumed guilt.”
But former U.S. Attorney Richard Roper, who spearheaded the recent public corruption investigation at Dallas City Hall, says during these kinds of investigations, the FBI consults with the U.S. Justice Department. “The FBI doesn’t have authority to investigate a corruption case of this magnitude on a whim. They have certain protocols that require supervisory approval.”
Kathryn Mitchell says she can’t speak to Commissioner Price, but in general, she belives African-American leaders are scrutinzed more heavily than whites. “I think they’re targets, but all over the county.”
During the service, pastors urged the community not only to support Commissioner Price, but all elected leaders.
An FBI spokeswoman declined comment tonight.
Commissioner Price was invited, but did not attend. People at the church handed out flyers promoting another rally for Price on July 16.