DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – On Sunday, supporters will meet to rally around and defend Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, who is the subject of a large-scale, much-publicized probe by the FBI.
One of those supporters is storied author and professor Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, a longtime friend to Price who said he refuses to let the commissioner’s “character be besmirched in the court of public opinion.”
“We have something to say as well,” the Georgetown University sociology professor said. “This is not the John Wiley Price we know and we’re going to speak about the John Wiley Price that we know.”
According to federal search warrants, the FBI has cast a wide net on Price, requesting information pertaining to his relationship with Democratic state Senator Royce West, documents related to a number of large-scale companies and organizations, as well as bank records, any cash on hand that’s more than $500 and computer data.
The warrants are looking for evidence linking Price to bribery, money laundering theft and tax evasion.
But the outspoken commissioner – known among supporters as Our Man Downtown – has not been formally accused of any wrongdoing.
Dyson said he feels the investigation and subsequent news coverage has cast a poor light on Price. He said he hopes to further convince the community to “give Price his due process.”
“We must not try him in the court of public opinion,” he said. “These allegations smell fishy and seem awfully suspicious, both their timing and the way in which Commissioner Price is being targeted.”
Dyson said he sympathizes with Price’s plight because of similar experiences he’s seen friends go through, such as former Philadelphia Mayor John Street, who was the subject – but not the target – of a City Hall corruption probe. Street was never charged with any wrongdoing.
“You don’t have to be a controversial black leader. Look at the President of the United States of America, who is as centrist as they come, yet this man has been subjected to a relentless campaign to discredit him,” Dyson said. “I think that this is a similar sort of campaign.”
The Justice For John Community Rally For Justice is held Sunday at 4:30 p.m. at the St. Luke Community United Methodist Church at 5710 East RL Thornton Freeway in Oak Cliff.
Dyson, who will fly in Sunday from Washington D.C., is the keynote speaker. This is the second rally supporters have organized for Price.
The first, on July 6, brought about 150 people to the Kirkwood Temple CME Church in southern Dallas.