Police are investigating as possible hate crimes the tearing down and burning of a Black Lives Matter banner and sign from two historic Black churches during unrest at pro-Trump protests in Washington, D.C., over the weekend.
Why it matters: Saturday's vandalism at the Asbury United Methodist Church and the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church are "acts of both racial terror and religious violence," per a statement from Yolanda Pierce, dean of D.C.'s Howard University School of Divinity.
- Ianther Mills, a senior pastor at Asbury United Methodist Church, founded in 1836, said in a statement acts were "reminiscent of cross burnings," noting "we face an apparent rise in white supremacy."
Context: Historically, Black churches have been targeted by white supremacists in acts of violence in the U.S.
Driving the news: Violent clashes erupted in D.C. Saturday between supporters of President Trump who refuse to accept his election loss to President-elect Biden and counter-protesters.
- The men, some dressed in "MAGA" hats, who were captured on video burning the banner at the Asbury United Methodist Church, were later identified as members of the far-right group the Proud Boys, according to the Washington Post.
- Another video shows protesters tearing down the sign at the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church and stomping on it while shouting: "Who's streets? Our streets."
What they're saying: D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) said in a statement Sunday that the Office of Religious Affairs and the Metropolitan Police Department are "engaging the impacted houses of worship."