Weeks after reminding his followers that flawed people are still good, Dr. Roscoe D. Cooper, III, a popular third generation pastor and vice chair of the Henrico County School Board in Virginia, was arrested for driving under the influence in the wee hours of Saturday morning.
A CBS 6 report said Virginia State Police arrested Cooper, 43, at about 1 a.m. on I-64 west of the Gaskins Road exit in the West End. He was reportedly riding in between two lanes prior to being charged.
Cooper has been pastor at the historic Rising Mount Zion Baptist Church since 2003 and his work there has earned him many awards.
"He is the recipient of numerous honors and rewards as an Outstanding Education Orator, a Prolific Communicator and Leader, Minister of the Year for four consecutive years, and a keynote speaker at the National Baptist Congress of Christian Education of the National Baptist Convention USA. Additionally, he has been honored and recognized by the Richmond NAACP, served as a community representative to the Congressional Black Caucus Discussions in Washington, D. C.," Mount Zion's website says.
It is unclear which organization awarded Cooper "Minister of the Year for four consecutive years."
The church did not return calls for comment on Monday and officials at the National Baptist Convention, USA were unavailable for comment on whether they administered the awards.
Cooper is in his second year of a four year-term on the school board. He was elected to the position in November 2015 by 42 votes in a three-way race, the Henrico Citizen said. The votes also had to be recounted.
His church describes him as a "a devoted family man who is a called servant of God who is focused and inspired by the promises of God, unchained by the cross, intentionally lives his creeds, treads the path of excellence, credibly inhabits his sermons, and unashamedly proclaims the Word of God each time he stands."
He has also done a lot to build Mount Zion during his time at the church.
"Pastor Cooper has more than quadrupled the membership, birthed several new ministries, and executed a comprehensive short and long term building and renovation plan, resulting in the funding and construction of phase 1 of a multi-million dollar sanctuary and administrative wing within his first ten years, refurbished the interior and exterior of the old buildings and the surrounding grounds to absolute condition and beauty," the church notes.
Close friends and members of the clergy noted, however, that despite the pastor's achievements, people should remember that he is human.
"We are put on a high pedestal and sometimes people cannot accept that we all have issues," Sharon Broaddus, a family friend told CBS 6. "They expect the pastor to be perfect with no problems. What the church and the Christians should do now is rally around Pastor Cooper."
Former Richmond City Council member Marty Jewell, who received suspended jail time and had to pay a fine after he was arrested and charged with DUI in 2009, told the network that Cooper could overcome the arrest if he handles it with the right perspective.
"It has served me well having gone through that ordeal because I haven't had a drink since," Jewell said.
Cooper recently posted a video on YouTube where he stressed that everyone has flaws.
"The story is told of a college professor who had just finished his lecture. After finishing his lecture, he handed out copies of the lecture. His teaching assistant noticed that on the lecture copy there were some typos. The professor attempted to retrieve the copies of the lecture from the students. The teaching assistant grabbed the professor by the hand and said 'don't worry about taking them back professor because even though they had some typos, they were still a good copy,'" Cooper said in the video.
"Understand that all of us have some imperfections. All of us has some flaws. All of us have some typos, but despite our typos we ought to praise God that all of us are still good copies no matter what the past may have been it does not predetermine what your future can be. Praise God that despite any typographical errors, any imperfections, any flaws, you're still a good copy," he said.
Henrico County School Board members released a statement Saturday, saying: "Board members are aware of Mr. Cooper's personal situation. We'll be better able to respond once more details are available. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Cooper family at this time."
Despite the support for Cooper, however, some special advocates are calling for him to lose his seat on the school board. They argue, among other things, that he has represented "individuals of color in a poor manner."