Black church in Mississippi torched and spray-painted with “Vote Trump”
A historically black church in Greenville, Mississippi, was burned and spray-painted with the words “Vote Trump” late Tuesday evening.
Firefighters and police officers responded to an emergency call at Hopewell Missionary Baptist Tuesday night around 9 p.m. to find the century-old church “heavily engulfed” in flames, Greenville Mayor Errick D. Simmons said at a press conference Wednesday. There were no reported injuries and no one was inside the church when the incident occurred.
There was no surveillance video and police have not named any suspects yet, but local authorities said they are investigating whether it was a hate crime.
The fire was a “direct assault on people’s right to freely worship,” Mayor Simmons said.
“We’re in 2016; that should not happen,” Simmons said later. “I see it as an attack… I see it as intimidation, on people’s civil liberties.”
The FBI told the Clarion-Ledger that the agency is aware of the incident and working with local law enforcement to “determine if any civil rights crimes were committed.”
This isn’t the first time Greenville has experienced a racially charged incident of violence. Simmons noted that the burning of the Hopewell church comes after the N-word was found spray-painted on a boat along the Greenville shore of the Mississippi River in September.
The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to request for comment from VICE News.
All photos by Angie Quezada, Delta Daily News
Cover: Angie Quezada, Delta Daily News