A Black Lives Matter banner and sign were torn from two historic Black churches in downtown D.C. and destroyed during pro-Trump protests Saturday night, events that D.C. police said are being investigated as potential hate crimes, reports The Washington Post.
In one of the attacks, videos posted on Twitter show a group of people identified as Proud Boys marching with a ‘Black Lives Matter’ banner held above their heads, then cheering as it is set on fire while chanting “fu-k antifa!”
The banner was stolen from Asbury United Methodist Church, one of the oldest Black churches in the city.
“Last night demonstrators who were part of the MAGA gatherings tore down our Black Lives Matter sign and literally burned it in the street,” the Rev. Ianther M. Mills, the church’s senior pastor, said in a statement. “It pained me especially to see our name, Asbury, in flames. For me it was reminiscent of cross burnings.”
Now they’re burning it. pic.twitter.com/Umz80dIw7y
— Sawyer Hackett (@SawyerHackett) December 13, 2020
Proud Boys sitting outside of Harry’s cheer as more members come down the street with a large BLM banner pic.twitter.com/VGYxqBt1As
— Shelby Talcott (@ShelbyTalcott) December 13, 2020
Another video, posted by @BGOnTheScene, shows a Black Lives Matter sign being torn down from in front of Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church at 15th and M streets NW. reports the Post.
The group can be heard chanting, “Whose streets? Our streets!” as they destroy the sign in front of the church where worshipers have included historic leaders, such as Frederick Douglass, and presidents, including Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and William Howard Taft.
In response, William H. Lamar IV, pastor of Metropolitan AME, tweeted: “We have not been distracted by signs, sounds, or fury for nearly two centuries. We worship. We liberate. We serve.”
— Brendan Gutenschwager (@BGOnTheScene) December 13, 2020
D.C. police on Sunday declined to say whether any arrests were made in the cases but said they were investigating.
“We take these offenses seriously and we are currently investigating them as a possible hate crimes,” police spokeswoman Alaina Gertz said while declining to confirm whether any arrests were made in the cases but said they were investigating.
Another video shows a mob of Trump supporters surrounding a car at Thomas Circle, accusing the driver and front-seat passenger of being liberals because they were wearing face masks inside of the vehicle, according to ABC7’s Kevin Lewis.
“One Trump supporter slapped the car’s side window as it sped away,” Lewis noted.
It’s a fascist street gang, roaming the nation’s capital and harassing people just trying to live their lives. https://t.co/cpLxY2V5CL
— Cameron Peters (@jcameronpeters) December 13, 2020
One protester was spotted wearing a “Death to Liberals” t-shirt while standing in the middle of a group of Proud Boys.
Trump said stand back and stand by…
Trump must have given the the green light today at the Whitehouse. pic.twitter.com/79Lstpg319
— Mleeyoung1013 (@You1Michelle) December 13, 2020
The mob (some had PB colors, couldn’t make out others) marched the two young men to Thomas Circle & let them go, all while yelling at them. Some other Black guys on bikes rolled up & the pro-Trump mob tried to fight them too, taunting them to “come help your comrades.”
— Hannah Allam (@HannahAllam) December 13, 2020
The violence surrounding the Proud Boys marching in downtown DC tonight took place a block away from Ford’s Theatre. If you needed any additional symbolism. https://t.co/S3r5bNDT6r
— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) December 13, 2020
— Terrence Daniels (Captain 🍀 Planet) (@Terrence_STR) December 13, 2020
— Nicholas Bongiovanni (@NicholasBongio5) December 13, 2020
Thousands of Proud Boys in DC 👇🏼 pic.twitter.com/Xc4XaZQVVY
— Art TakingBack 🇺🇸 (@ArtValley818_) December 13, 2020