The room was on its feet at St. Paul Baptist Church in Harrisburg on Sunday, during a regional leadership summit for civil rights and labor groups.
Many turned out in support of Bishop A. E. Sullivan, Jr. who was arrested in February.
A city church he owns that sat empty partially collapsed on Feb. 21, sending debris on the street and onto nearby properties. Sullivan was arrested on charges of reckless endangerment, public nuisance and failure to prevent catastrophe, all related to the building’s collapse.
His friends do not dispute the misdemeanor charges, but say he should not have been handcuffed in the street based on those charges, because it was attempted public humiliation.
“We are concerned that he was was made to do the ‘perp walk,’ handcuffed and shackled and we thought that was a little overboard,” says Joseph Robinson, Jr., the president of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Development Insititute.
“He shouldn’t have been the example in handcuffs, walking with a police officer,” said Rep. Patty Kim, (D)-Dauphin, speaking at the summit. “I wish he wasn’t the one to be the example of a slum landlord.”
Speakers were also there to talk about opposition to PA House Bill 1507, a paycheck protection bill opposed by unions.
Sullivan declined to talk about the case. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.