The tumultuous career of John Wiley Price




Posted on June 27, 2011 at 8:07 PM

DALLAS — John Wiley Price has served as Dallas County District 3 Commissioner since 1985, and was the first African-American elected to the court.

From that day forward, he has been a lightning rod, sometimes attracting controversy... other times causing it... usually fighting for what he calls "racial justice."

Once he painted over billboards advertising tobacco products in black neighborhoods.

Throughout the 1980s and 90s, he led a group called The Warriors, picketing the seats of local power, including Dallas schools, Dallas police and most of the TV stations (including Channel 8), claiming all were unfair in their hiring of minorities.

Once, picketing in front of KXAS, he snapped a windshield wiper off a van.

On another occasion, Price scuffled with the crew shooting a movie downtown. That incident left one man with a broken leg.

For several of these incidents, Price was convicted of misdemeanors and sentenced — first to probation, then to jail.

But through it all, he continued to perform his duties as a Commissioner, and won the respect of others on the court who learned to overlook his outbursts.

Lately, however, the controversies returned.

Just last week, Price sparred with Commissioner Maurine Dickey over redistricting.

A few weeks before that, he reacted to a tea party activist by telling several white people in the audience to "go to hell."

In context, it was all pretty standard stuff for a career filled with controversies. But this time it's different.

This time it's the FBI.