FBI probes ‘Trump’ tag at black church


Associated Press

GREENVILLE, Miss.

The FBI opened a civil- rights investigation into the arson and vandalism of an African-American church in Mississippi, where someone spray-painted “Vote Trump” in what the mayor called a “heinous, hateful, cowardly act.”

The pulpit and pews were burned, and soot stained the brick around some windows.

Greenville Fire Chief Ruben Brown Sr. said the fire was set by some- one and estimated the Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church was 80 percent destroyed.

“We consider it a hate crime,” Mayor Errick Simmons said. “Because of the political message which we believe was intended to interfere with worship and intimidate voters.”

About 78 percent of Greenville’s 32,100 residents are African-American.

FBI spokesman Brett Car said it was too early to determine whether the fire should be investigated as a possible hate crime.

Gov. Phil Bryant, a Republican who has been campaigning for Donald Trump, said “we expect a suspect will be identified and brought to justice.”

An $11,000 reward was offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever set the fire.

Subscribe Today

Sign up for our email newsletter to receive daily news.

Want more? Click here to subscribe to either the Print or Digital Editions.