Not Guilty Verdict Vindication for John Wiley Price Supporters

Relief, joy and vindication swept through parts of Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price's southern district Friday.

The verdict of not guilty handed down by a jury Friday was a prayer answered for some of Price's strongest supporters.

"Many are pleased in this community. There are many who believe Commissioner Price was singled out because he was a bold African-American leader who would stand up and challenge the status quo, challenge the Dallas Citizens Council, if you will, and some may have resented that," said Robert Ashley, news director at KHVN Heaven 97.

Price was acquitted of seven counts of bribery and mail fraud. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on the four counts of tax fraud.

Ashley said Price will always have his loyal supporters and ardent detractors. There are those who think he is corrupt, but Ashley said there are many more who know what Price stands for.

"He's perceived as a strong leader who stood up, and it's hard for many people to perceive that a guy like this would do anything to put his job in jeopardy," Ashley said.

Many of Price's supporters were not surprised by the verdict. As deliberations dragged on for more than a week many felt like the odds were in Price's favor. Even so, Pastor Freddy Haynes said he was shocked.

"Study your history. The justice system in this country has a bad history when it comes to African-American leaders who wield power on our behalf and fight for freedom," Haynes said.

Haynes said he did not think Price would get a fair trial in Dallas, but following the verdict he said justice had been done.

"Not only did he get a fair trial, but it was evident from the evidence, or lack thereof, and the poor case that was presented by the prosecution. In spite of money on top of money they spent to get this man," Haynes said.

Price told reporters Friday that he is ready to get back to work. Ashley offered him some advice for the future.

"Many people are still praying for you and will always pray for you, but we've got to make sure that you're above reproach," Ashley said. "Don't even give the government any kind of appearance of any wrongdoing."

Contact Us