Officials at St. Paul’s First Lutheran Church in North Hollywood, California, were accused this week of harassing a Black woman who was sitting in the grass on the property, reports RawStory.
“My friend Alex was sitting under a tree in the shade when this happened,” the Facebook post explained. “This is deeply disturbing and contrary to Lutheran values and basic human decency.”
A video shared by Chris Macke shows a man, who is presumably a St. Paul Church official, installing a “no trespassing” sign on a tree above where the woman is sitting.
“Why am I not welcome?” the woman asks the man.
“Because this is private property,” he replies.
“This church is not welcoming me?” the woman presses.
“No,” he insists. “It’s not. We have a lot of problems with people here from the park vandalizing and we don’t want anybody on the private property. You want to stay on the sidewalk? That’s okay. The mayor says you can have all the sidewalk you want. But you can’t be on the grass.”
“Have I vandalized anything?” the woman asks.
“You haven’t,” the man confirms before using a portable drill to attach the sign to the tree.
“You gave people a bad time so I’m going to take care of it,” he continues. “You told them there’s no ‘no trespassing’ signs so I’m putting a ‘no trespassing’ sign right here.”
“Did you go buy that just now for me?” she asks. “That’s so unwelcoming.”
“You know, we used to be real nice about it,” he says. “Not anymore. When people aren’t nice, we’re not nice.”
“We have to treat everybody the same,” the man adds. “All lives matter. I’m sorry, but I’m telling you that’s what we have to do because we have to protect ourselves.”
The man then explains that local police refuse to remove people from the property without a “no trespassing” sign visible outside the church.
“So this is a precursor to you calling the cops?” the woman asks.
“This is it,” he admits. “They already did. And they said we can’t do anything because there’s no ‘no trespassing’ sign.”
“So you’re willing to call the cops for someone who is sitting on some grass when there are clear crimes they could be taking care of?” she replies.
“Yes, ma’am,” he confirms.
A white woman who was watching the scene unfold jumps into the conversation to accuse the Black woman of threatening her life.
“How am I threatening your life?” the woman sitting in the grass asks.
“Because you’re arguing with us,” the white woman says.
Watch video of the incident, below:
This is St. Paul's First Lutheran Church in North Hollywood, CA. This is deeply disturbing and contrary to Lutheran values and basic human decency. Please call or write and express your disappointment. (818) 763-2892 https://t.co/AgNRSKOSVf pic.twitter.com/zYf00ui3cq
— blacklivesmatters.carrd.co (@ernes_totes) July 8, 2020