The Rev. Creflo Dollar Jr. picked up more support Friday when a local Southern Christian Leadership Conference official accused Fayette County Sheriff's deputies of mishandling the arrest of the megachurch pastor.
Dollar was charged with simple battery, family violence and cruelty to children last Friday after deputies determined they had probable cause to suggest the minister had choked and hit his 15-year-old daughter.
"I think it's been exaggerated because of who is it," the Rev. Samuel Mosteller, president of the SCLC's Georgia chapter, told reporters at a news conference Friday morning. "If it was a normal family I don't think there would've been an arrest at all."
A Fayette sheriff's office spokesman declined to comment Friday.
In an accompanying news release, Mosteller said that, as a result of Dollar's arrest, parents "may be hesitant to discipline the child and the child may be more likely to involve police."
"We believe the parent was exercising his parental responsibility, as all children cannot be allowed to leave the home when they are underage," Mosteller said.
Dollar's youngest daughter told deputies the altercation started because her father wouldn't allow her to attend a party. She alleged Dollar "punched ... and choked her," telling a 911 operator, "It was not the first time it's happened."
The pastor's 19-year-old Alexandria, who witnessed the fight, corroborated her sibling's story, telling police her father "put both hands around her sister's neck and choked her for about five seconds." Then, she said, the pastor of World Changers Church International in unincorporated Fulton County grabbed the 15-year-old by the shoulders and slapped her in the face.
Dollar, speaking from the pulpit last Sunday, denied the allegations, saying, "I should have never been arrested." Thousands of those in attendance gave Dollar a standing ovation.
Mosteller acknowledged at Friday's press conference that he wasn't "sure of the facts" in the case.
"I wasn't there," he said. "I can't talk about her credibility without some of the facts."
Still, Mosteller added he believes Dollar was merely attempting to discipline his daughter.
The 50-year-old Dollar is one of the most prominent African-American preachers in the Atlanta area. His flock has 30,000 members locally and in a ministry of satellite churches across the U.S.