A Tennessee pastor, also a detective, said in a sermon this month that lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people were "monsters" and "worthy of death", comments that prompted prosecutors to examine cases on which he investigated.
In a sermon on June 2, Pastor Grayson Fritts also called on the government to send an anti-riot team to the Pride Parade scheduled for June 22 in Knoxville. He said L.G.B.T. people must be arrested, tried and, if found guilty, executed.
"This is the problem of law enforcement nowadays," he said in a video of the sermon posted by The Tennessee Holler. "They are pursuing cookie thieves, while real animals are on chariots in Gay Street."
Mr. Fritts is pastor of the All Scripture Baptist Church, which publishes his position on homosexuality on his website: "A person will burn with desire for the same sex only if it has been delivered to a disapproved or rejected spirit . God said that homosexuality should be punished with the death penalty, as stated in Leviticus 20:13. No homosexual will be allowed to attend or join any Baptist Church of the Scriptures. "
Mr. Fritts is also a detective at the Knox County Sheriff's Office. His sermon prompted the Knox County Attorney's Office to review the cases on which Mr. Fritts had worked as a detective.
"When a potential witness in a criminal proceeding expresses a hateful and / or biased opinion towards a class of citizens, I am morally bound to explore the credibility of this witness," said the prosecutor. the Republic, Charm P. Allen, in a statement. "As a result, I am reviewing all outstanding cases involving Mr. Fritts in order to review them for possible biases."
It was not known immediately how many cases would be examined. Ms. Allen could not be contacted for a comment on Saturday.
She also instructed a deputy district prosecutor to take complaints about closed files that Fritts could have worked on, the statement said. Ms. Allen stated that, although her office never received a complaint about Mr. Fritts, it was important to respond to complaints "in accordance with the law".
Mr. Fritts could not be contacted for a comment on Saturday, but in another video released Thursday by The Tennessee Holler, he responded to critics regarding his previous sermon, claiming that he had not not called for violence against LGBT people.
"I'm not an anomaly," Fritts said in the video. "I am a Baptist preacher who only preaches the Bible, and if it offends society, it can only offend him."
the Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs, called Mr Fritts's sermon "scandalous".
"I think they are vile and reprehensible," he said Saturday about the comments. "I condemn any comment of this kind, which calls for violence."
He added that Mr. Fritts had sought early retirement from his detective position before his sermon attracted much attention, and that he was not currently active with the sheriff's office. Office representatives did not respond to e-mails or phone calls on Saturday. But according to the Knoxville News Sentinel, Knox County Sheriff Tom Spangler said in a statement Wednesday that he had accepted an application by Fritts for a county buyout by his post.
Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero said the city would organize the parade of her pride and that she would participate, along with members of other churches.
Referring to Mr. Fritts' comments, she said, "This is not the intent of Knoxville or Knox County. It's an aberration. What this pastor said does not reflect our community and the way we treat and treat our citizens. We want the world to know that it is not what we are and that it is not how we behave. "