DALLAS-- County Commissioner John Wiley Price is the current target in a long history of attacks against successful minority political figures. While a Grand Jury listened to FBI charges against him on September 16, fifty protesters gathered outside the Earle Cabell Federal Building on Commerce Street in downtown Dallas.
In general, they were defending Commissioner Price against allegations made by the FBI. The allegations have not been made public, but North Texas civil rights activists don't need to know what the charges are. They recognize a pattern when they see one. The history goes back to 1987 when a lawsuit was filed against the all-white method of electing people to political office. In 1991, the lawsuit was won, and the the people almost immediately began electing African Americans and Latinos to local office.
One would like to think that civil rights struggles, especially since the election of President Obama, exist only in our rear-view mirrors. However, minority office holders have consistently been pinched between law enforcement and the City Fathers at the Dallas Morning News. One of our State Representatives just returned from prison, and one of our City Councilmen is there now. Four relatives of a Justice of the Peace were indicted this week, and the Grand Jury is deciding what how far to go against our most popular County Commissioner.
If one were to believe the Morning News, their local newspapers, their radio stations, and their TV stations, they control a great deal of the information here, Price is a violent egomaniac racist who is too dangerous to allow on the streets of their fair city. In truth, he has spoken up for fairness and justice for decades. The worst he was ever charged with was touching someone's windwhield wiper.
Passing drivers were sympathetic to the protesters. Hardly anyone who has ever been active in the civil rights movement holds the FBI in high regard, or any regard at all. Protest organizers made a breakthrough when they dispatched the peaceful and silent protestors to stand directly in front of the federal building. Since 2001, protestors have always stayed across the street. Photographers were not told that they could not photograph the building, as they have been since 2001.
Protestors signs claimed that Commissioner Price is on the side of the people and that the people are on his side. They claim that justice is for people and it would seem, on September 16, that the people are on the side of justice.