The Georgia State Conference of the NAACP and the Fayette County Branch of the NAACP are conducting a preliminary investigation into the circumstances of the June 8 arrest of World Changers Church International Pastor Creflo Dollar.
The well-known mega-church pastor was arrested at his home around 2am on charges of simple battery and cruelty to children after Fayette County deputies responded to his north Fayette County residence on a domestic disturbance call.
The arrest came after Dollar’s 15-year-old daughter and a witness, the girl’s 19-year-old sister, told deputies that their father physically assaulted the 15-year-old.
“Today, many parents in any household have vivid recollections of being firmly disciplined during childhood and can directly reflect on how that discipline made them better adults. In order to ensure fairness, the NAACP wants to make sure that first responders to alleged domestic parent/child dispute calls are skillfully trained to clearly distinguish discipline from child abuse,” the NAACP press release said.
Fayette County NAACP President John E. Jones also weighed in on the topic.
“We simply want to make sure that Pastor Dollar is allowed to be a responsible parent and discipline his children,” said Jones. “Parenting children in this day and time can be very challenging because many children believe that they can call the police at any time to stop any unwanted discipline. Little do they know that this can subject their parent or them to an arrest. Conversely, unruly or undisciplined children could get physically hurt or suffer worse punishment when they act out and come in contact with law enforcement. African-American children suffer the most in this situation. The parents are in a dilemma whether to forgo disciplining their children or to leave it up to law enforcement. Should we be apathetic, lax or indifferent and let the courts send our unruly children to jail or should we as parents do our duty and appropriately discipline our children? These are the questions every parent is asking today. The responsibility of the NAACP is to get out front and ask these culturally sensitive questions that affect the fundamental cause of freedom, equality and justice.”
Essentially echoing the statements of the local branch, the press release noted that Georgia State Conference NAACP President Edward O. DuBose is seeking factual information on how Pastor Dollar was handled and wants to make sure there is not a rush to judgment or a pattern of behavior by Fayette County officials towards a particular segment of its citizens.
The Georgia State Conference NAACP along with the Fayette County Branch are pressing for a thorough investigation to make sure sound judgment is exercised and proper procedures are followed by the sheriff’s office in making an arrest in this or any similar cases, the press release said.
Statements by the NAACP were in reference to Dollar’s June 8 arrest on charges of simple battery and cruelty to children in relation to an incident at the family’s home on Sandy Creek Road in north Fayette County.
Fayette County Sheriff’s spokesman Brent Rowan said deputies responded to the Dollar residence at approximately 1 a.m. on June 8 in reference to a domestic disturbance. Upon their arrival, deputies interviewed Dollar’s 15-year-old daughter who said she and her father had been in an argument over her attending and upcoming party, Rowan said. Deputies also interviewed a witness to the disturbance, Rowan added.
Deputies at the scene were told that the argument turned physical, with Dollar found to be the primary aggressor, said Rowan. The 15-year-old suffered superficial injuries and did not require medical treatment, Rowan said.
According to reports, the 15-year-old daughter told investigators that she went to the kitchen and began crying after being told she could not attend an upcoming party. Her father entered the room and asked her why she was crying. Upon being told that she did not want to “talk right now” Pastor Dollar charged her, put his hands around her throat and began to choke her, reports said.
The 15-year-old told deputies her father then “slammed her to the ground and began punching her and took his shoe off and started whooping her with it,” reports said. The deputy in his report said he noticed a scratch on the right side of the girl’s neck close to her throat.
The report indicated that Pastor Dollar in his statement said he and his daughter were in a disagreement about a party she wanted to attend. After the exchange his daughter left the room and entered the kitchen and became upset. Dollar told deputies that he entered the kitchen and asked why she was upset. Dollar said his daughter became very disrespectful and he approached her and tried to restrain her. Dollar stated that while restraining her, she began to hit back and then he wrestled her to the floor. He said that, while on the floor, he began to spank her on her bottom and the back of her legs. Dollar said she calmed down after the spanking and was advised to go to her room, reports said.
Deputies also spoke with a witness to the disturbance, the younger girl’s 19-year-old sister. The 19-year-old sibling in her statement recalled the argument, stating that while in the kitchen, Pastor Dollar grabbed the 15-year-old’s shoulders, slapped her in the face and put both hands around her neck and choked her for about five seconds, adding that the 15-year-old tried to break free and did not fight back, according to reports. The older daughter said she then left the room to get the 15-year-old’s mother after Dollar threw her younger sister to the ground.
Deputies in the report noted that the 19-year-old wrote two statements.
“The first statement she wrote was completely different to the events she had explained to me,” the deputy said in the incident report narrative. “She wrote, ‘my sister got into an argument with my father. She went into the kitchen and began to be disrespectful to my father. He simply bent her over and gave her a spanking, nothing that could physically harm her. I changed my story because I thought the situation went out of hand and I didn’t want my dad to get arrested.’ That was the exact words from her first statement. After confronting her with the statement she had written and the testimony she originally gave, (the 19-year-old) wrote a second statement explaining what she had first told me. (She) wrote the first statement due to her parents being outside with her while she was writing it. After separating her away from her parents, she then wrote down what she had first told me when I arrived on the scene.”
The report also noted that the mother, Taffi Dollar, indicated that she did not witness the altercation.
Dollar, age 50, was arrested on charges of simple battery-family violence and cruelty to children, Rowan said.
The high profile pastor heads Creflo Dollar Ministries that includes the World Changers Church International located in College Park and CDM Global Missions. World Changers International has 16 satellite churches in seven states and Washington, D.C., and CDM has offices in Australia, South Africa, Nigeria and the United Kingdom, according to creflodollarministries.org.