As the investigation continues to determine whether or not this act was a hate crime, a GoFundMe to repair the church has raised over $200,000 to cover the damages.
Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Greenville, Mississippi was set ablaze at around 9 pm on Tuesday and vandalized with the message "Vote Trump."
Angie Quezada of Delta Daily News photographed the scene and filmed the subsequent press conference during which the mayor of Greenville confirmed that the case is being investigated as a hate crime.
Mayor Errick D. Simmons, who was joined by the city's police chief and fire marshals stated, "This act is a direct assault on people's right to freely worship. Moreover, this matter is being investigated with all deliberate speed and we will not rest until the culprit is found and fully prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law." The mayor called the vandalism a "heinous, hateful, and cowardly act."
Very luckily, nobody was injured in the fire, although the damages have hurt the community nonetheless. Reuters confirms that the FBI are already involved in the investigation. The agency made the following statement, "The FBI Jackson Division is aware of the situation in Greenville, and we are working with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to determine if any civil rights crimes were committed."
Many hate crimes in the past year have been associated with Donald Trump's campaign rhetoric, with the criminals verbally linking their violence directly to Trump's campaign. The message left on the side of the Hopewell Missionary church forges yet another worrying connection between Trump and white supremacy, racism, and bigotry.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: REUTERS/Adrees Latif