A historic Black church in downtown Washington, D.C., has received more than $1 million in a lawsuit against a far-right group activist group.
The church, Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, sued the Proud Boys for tearing down and burning a Black Lives Matter banner during a 2020 rally, Religion News Service reports.
In his decision, Superior Court Associate Judge Neal A. Kravitz also barred the Proud Boys from coming near the church or pastor for five years.
Rev. William H. Lamar IV, pastor of Metropolitan AME, said in a statement that he was pleased with the court’s decision.
“Our courage and determination to fight back in response to the 2020 attack on our church is a beacon of hope for our community, and today’s ruling showed us what our collective vision and voice can achieve,” he said. “While A.M.E. refused to be silenced in the face of white supremacist violence, that does not mean real trauma and damage did not occur – merely that congregants and the church have and will continue to rise above it.”
Two Black Lives Matter banners were pulled down from the Metropolitan AME and another Black church. The banners were then burned.
The incident happened during December 2020 rallies between pro-Donald Trump supporters and others.
In the lawsuit, the Metropolitan AME said the Proud Boys violated D.C. and federal law by trespassing and destroying religious property.
The attack against Metropolitan A.M.E. was an attempt to silence the congregation’s voice and its support for Black life, dignity, and safety. It represents just the latest chapter in a long history of white supremacist violence targeting Black houses of worship,” said Damon Hewitt, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, in the church counsel’s statement. “These attacks are meant to intimidate and create fear, and this lawsuit’s aim was to hold those who engage in such action accountable.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images-Brian A Jackson
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.