The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) announced Monday that they are investigating a group of Proud Boys burning a Black Lives Matter banner as a hate crime.
MPD and the FBI Washington Field Office are offering a reward of $3,000 for any information that leads to the arrest and indictment of any of the suspects who were seen burning the banner. “The Metropolitan Police Department is investigating this offense as potentially being motivated in whole or in part by hate or bias,” MPD said in a statement.
MPD seeks suspects in a Destruction of Property offense that occurred on 12/12/20 in the 900 blk of 11th St, NW. MPD is investigating this offense as potentially being motivated by hate or bias. Have info? Call (202) 727-9099/text 50411 @FBIWFOhttps://t.co/5b8xfeu3AG pic.twitter.com/y2uP0XurE4
— DC Police Department (@DCPoliceDept) December 14, 2020
The police noted that prosecutors may choose to not charge it as a hate crime. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE VIDEOS: Proud Boys, Counter-Protesters Brawl On The Streets Of DC After MAGA March)
A video taken Saturday night showed a group of Proud Boys and Trump supporters chanting and cheering while burning a Black Lives Matter banner that was taken from the Asbury United Methodist Church in D.C. As the sign burns, one person is seen pouring accelerant into the flames.
The Proud Boys and Trump supporters burn the BLM banner while chanting and cheering in downtown DC: pic.twitter.com/L16azBBhbr
— Shelby Talcott (@ShelbyTalcott) December 13, 2020
Another video showed a group of Proud Boys tearing down a Black Lives Matter board from the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church.
— Brendan Gutenschwager (@BGOnTheScene) December 13, 2020
Both videos were viewed more than 2 million times. Critics were quick to condemn the actions of the Proud Boys, including Rev. Dr. Ianther M. Mills of the Asbury United Methodist Church who compared the incident to a cross burning.
“It pained me especially to see our name, Asbury, in flames,” Mills said in a statement. “For me it was reminiscent of cross burnings. Seeing this act on video made me both indignant and determined to fight the evil that has reared its ugly head.”