DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The crowd roared with applause and community leaders cried for justice Sunday, but the man of the hour – the normally outspoken Commissioner John Wiley Price – sat quietly in the last pew at the St. Luke Community United Methodist Church.
Federal search warrants show Price is part of an investigation for possible bribery, money laundering, theft and tax evasion, but speakers framed the ongoing investigation as part of a history of FBI attacks on strong minority leaders.
Hundreds of supporters attended the rally, urging residents to give Price his due process.
“He’s done a lot for the black community, and we shouldn’t lose sight of that,” said Mike McCain, who came to hear what supporters had to say.
In the keynote address, Georgetown professor Dr. Michael Eric Dyson drew a comparison to Casey Anthony that threw the crowd in a fury of applause.
“If Casey Anthony can get presumption of innocence and due process, Commissioner John Wiley Price deserves the same,” he said.
The crowd responded – not just with their voices, but with their checkbooks, too.
“I want you to give cash. I want you to give food stamps,” Dyson said.
Running up the aisle, one woman handed over a substantial donation to the commissioner’s defense fund.
“One thousand dollars. One thousand dollars,” Dyson announced.
She wasn’t the only one to give that much, and many other smaller donations followed, as well.
Neither Price nor his associates have been accused of any wrongdoing in the investigation that became public last month. His supporters say they want to remind the public of his service, and urge them not to jump to conclusions.