A Texas fire marshal has been accused of discrimination after a black pastor was criminally charged over the brightness of his church's parking lights.
Marilyn Williams, wife of Rev. Patrick Williams, told the Houston Chronicle that she and her husband were shocked to learn of the charges.
“The lawyer said it’s a criminal charge,” Marilyn Williams said. “I couldn’t believe it.”
Rev. Patrick Williams is pastor of the predominantly African-American Overflow Church in Pearland. According to the paper, "the church had run into a litany of permitting problems with the new fire marshal, Micheal Dumas, who enforces city ordinance violations."
They did not expect Dumas to dole out a criminal charge over the parking lights. Marilyn Williams was even more surprised to find a Confederate flag on Dumas' Facebook page. The image has since been removed.
“That is when I was like, OK, I get it,” Marilyn Williams told the Chronicle.
Pastor Williams said that the criminal charges came three months after the church altered the lights to appease Dumas. Last week, the pastor was found not guilty by a jury.
“We are being harassed and discriminated against,” he said after being found not guilty.
In a Facebook post, the church complained that the city of Manvel had changed the rules in order to personally charge Rev. Williams.
Read the post below.