A coalition of predominantly African American church leaders and the local chapter of the NAACP are rallying behind Emmell Beech, the chief executive officer of Foothill Area Community Services. Beech's home was raided by police last week as part of an investigation into possible financial misconduct at the Pasadena-based nonprofit group.
"Based on our long working relationship with Mel Beech, we believe in his leadership, we believe in his integrity," said the Rev. William Turner, senior pastor at New Revelation Missionary Baptist Church and a member of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, a group representing 22 Protestant churches in Pasadena and Altadena. At a rally Monday, speakers from the group expressed dismay with the method police used to obtain documents from the organization.
Supporters say if nothing surfaces in the investigation to implicate Beech, it will have been another example of an unwarranted effort to discredit African American leaders. "The same thing is happening to Chief Willie Williams," Turner said.
Pasadena police say the investigation of the group could take months.