The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) of Washington, D.C. is investigating a “Black Lives Matter” sign burning that occurred at pro-Trump and “Stop the Steal” protests on Saturday as a potential hate crime.
“The Metropolitan Police Department is investigating this offense as potentially being motivated in whole or in part by hate or bias. The designation can be changed at any point as an investigation proceeds and more information is gathered,” a press release from the department read.
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
While the MPD said the event appeared to be “motivated … by hate or bias,” prosecutors have the freedom to decide if they will litigate it as such.
MPD, Crime Solvers of Washington, DC, MPD, the FBI Washington Field Office are offering rewards totaling $3,000 “for information which leads to arrest and indictment of suspects in this case.”
Video footage from The Daily Caller Reporter Shelby Talcott shows a group of “Proud Boys and Trump supporters” gathering around the banner, which appears to have been torn down from Asbury United Methodist Church and dousing it in a type of fuel before lighting it.
Proud Boys cheer upon realizing that the group carrying another BLM flag are actually more Proud Boys. Police just arrived to the area as well. pic.twitter.com/mvb9Jdmd7s
— Shelby Talcott (@ShelbyTalcott) December 13, 2020
Other footage captured on the ground shows a similar situation unfolding in front of Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, which also had displayed a BLM sign.
— Brendan Gutenschwager (@BGOnTheScene) December 13, 2020
According to data collected by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), up to 95 percent of this summer’s riots are linked to Black Lives Matter activism, including in cities such as DC.