South Dallas religious leaders denounced the FBI investigation of embattled Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price as a "witch hunt" in a prayer service Wednesday night.
"Tonight, master, we place John Wiley Price in your hands," said the Rev. S.C. Nash of Mount Tabor Baptist Church. "The things he's getting ready to go through, you need to be there with him."
Billed as "a night of prayer and preparation," about 200 people attended the service at Kirkwood Temple C.M.E. Church. It was organized by the African-American Pastors' Coalition.
Price was invited to attend but did not.
FBI agents raided Price's home and office and those of three close associates. The FBI has declined to say what it is investigating.
In Price's district, where he's known as "our man downtown," suspicion of the investigation run deep.
"Something was going down in the way of gestapo-like tactics which gave birth to a witch hunt," said the Rev. Freddie Haynes of Friendship West Baptist Church.
The Rev. Jerry Christian, president of the pastors' group, said the prayer service was designed to send a message.
"We're trying to create an atmosphere where the city is not divided and torn apart and we come together and say, 'Let's slow down,'" he said in an interview.
Another rally in support of Price is scheduled later this month at St. Luke Community United Methodist Church.
It's scheduled for July 17 -- three days before a federal grand jury is set to hear evidence in the case.
"When our time comes, we have the gumption, we have the strength, we have the guts, to stand up and fight the good fight," said the Rev. Lelious Johnson of St. Paul Baptist Church.
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