PICTURE SOURCE: http://time.com
Officials have deemed the vandalism and burning of a church Tuesday night in Greenville, Mississippi, a hate crime. Hopewell Baptist Church was badly damaged after it was set on fire around 9pm last night. When the fire was put out, police had noticed that someone had vandalized the side of the church, by spray painting “Vote for Trump,” according to College Candy. In addition to that, police cited water and smoke damage (done) o the sanctuary, as well as damage in the pastor’s study and the kitchen,” according to TIME .
At a press conference held earlier today, Greenville Mayor Errick Simmons stated that the crime was a “hateful and cowardly act” and a “direct assault on people’s right to freely worship,” reported by the same source.
“In addition to its message of intimidation regarding people’s right to vote freely, Simmons said, “The black church has always been a symbol of the black community…I see this as an attack on the black church, the black community,” via TIME.
The church’s pastor revealed that in all of its 111 year run, the church had never been vandalized up until Tuesday.
The Mississippi Fire Marshall and the FBI are currently investigating this matter.