JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Northside church added extra security guards Sunday morning and JSO cruisers patrolled nearby while protesters yelled and chanted at anyone who walked by.
Men and women calling themselves the "New Black Panther Party" protested outside of Darrell Gilyard's church, Christ Tabernacle Baptist Church Sunday. The group says they're upset because Gilyard is a registered sex offender and has been allowed to preach at the church on North David Street.
"The black ministers in the city of Jacksonville ought to be ashamed of themselves. How can you say you're a follower of Christ but you won't stand up and speak out against this injustice?" Panther member Mikhail Muhammad said.
Gilyard pleaded guilty in 2009 to lewd molestation and lewd conduct with two teenage girls who were in his congregation at Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church. He served more than 2 years in prison. Because he is a sex offender, the church has had to bar children from attending Sunday service.
"We came because the children who we should be teaching and preaching cannot come out today. So Darrell Gilyard should do that moral thing. He should step down," Muhammad said.
"As a mother, and as a victim as well, I have to stand up for the children. We have to be their voice," Panther Party member Marilyn Burroughs said.
Gilyard didn't come out to speak and couldn't be seen entering or leaving the church, but he has many supporters.
Johnny Harris began coming to Christ Tabernacle just to see his former pastor at work.
"I miss his preaching. He's a good teacher," Harris said.
"There's a better way to do that, then to come in front of the house of God on a Sunday morning with that kind of stuff," Pastor James Brandt of Zarephath Tabernacle Baptist Church said.
The New Black Panther Party says they will protest every Sunday until Gilyard stands down from his post.
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