Councilman Curren Price greets supporters joining him at L.A. Superior Court. (Courtesy photo)

In an extraordinary demonstration of solidarity, over 100 clergy members, South Central community leaders and stakeholders rallied around L.A. City Councilman Curren Price, showering him with love and unwavering support as he entered an innocent plea at LA Superior Court on Jan. 8.

Last summer, charges were brought against the veteran City of LA Councilmember by the District Attorney’s Office, allegations the District 9 representative called “baseless and unwarranted.”

“We have done nothing wrong. And we’re gonna be fighting tooth and nail to prove our innocence, and to prove that we’re here to serve the people,” Price said in front of throngs of his supporters.

“I urge the residents of Council District 9 and the broader Los Angeles community to reserve judgment while the legal process takes its course.”

Community members surround Price as speaks following the court hearing. (Courtesy photo)

Some notable groups in attendance, standing with the Councilmember at the court hearing, included the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) of Southern California; Experience Christian Ministries (ECM); Community of Christ Church; UNITE HERE Local 11; South Central Neighborhood Council; Coalition for Responsible Community Development (CRCD); Cover the Homeless Ministry; Life After Ruthless Acts (L.A.U.R.A); Mamas del Sur Centro; Soledad Enrichment Action (SEA); South Central United; Volunteers of America Los Angeles (VOALA); and Ward Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), among others.

“Councilman Price has been a source of hope for South Central because he knows and understands the needs of our community,” said Rose Rios, founder and CEO of Cover the Homeless Ministry, who has worked with the homeless community for decades.

“We need him; the homeless people really need him. He has connected with the poor people, and we cannot afford to lose him as our leader. We need him now more than ever!”

Late last year, Michael Schafler, a partner at Cohen Williams LLP and attorney for Price, filed a legal challenge questioning the sufficiency of the Complaint in an attempt to have the charges against the Councilman dismissed. The motion was denied this week, and Councilmember Price is now slated to appear back in court on March 1 to set a date for a possible preliminary hearing.

“Naturally, we are disappointed by the Court’s decision not to sustain the demurrer, although it comes as no surprise,” Shafler said.

“The District Attorney will now be required to back up the charges. Having closely examined a substantial portion of the prosecution’s evidence, we are confident that they will be unable to meet their burden.”

Pastor William Smart, SCLC president and CEO, echoed his strong support for the Councilmember, adding, “He’s innocent until proven guilty, and he has vehemently denied the allegations. Councilman Price has been for the community and we have to stand by our champions because they speak for us.”