NAN Opposes Recent Violent Acts In DC, Calls For Immediate Investigations From The DC Government and U.S. Department of Justice—
New York, NY (December 15, 2020) — National Action Network demands accountability and calls on the U.S. Department of Justice to immediately launch a thorough investigation into the activities and attacks that transpired on the weekend of December 12, 2020. Black pedestrians and city residents were violently attacked by the Proud Boys, a far-right, neo-fascist, and male-only political organization that promotes and engages in political violence. At least a dozen people, including a stabbing victim, are still recovering from injuries. Four churches, including two historic Black Churches, Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church and Ashbury United Methodist Church, in the downtown DC area, were vandalized. The Proud Boys are recorded destroying Black Lives Matter banners on church properties and cheering, while the banner was burned at Ashbury United Methodist Church. These are acts of domestic terror fueled by hate, racism, and the equivalent to the cross-burnings and terror of the Ku Klux Klan in the era of Jim Crow.
All of this happened while the Metropolitan Police Department appeared to turn a blind eye. We understand the myriad of police jurisdictions operating within the District of Columbia, still we echo the concerns of DC’s Black residents who felt they were left unprotected by a lack of police intervention in the face of extreme and targeted violence.
The actions by the Proud Boys violate federal laws, including the Church Arson Prevention Act of 1996 and the First Amendment. Since the end of the Civil War, when freed slaves began to erect their own churches, white supremacists have attacked those houses of worship to stir fear in black leaders and to quash efforts by blacks to improve their lives. These actions are a direct and unacceptable threat to our communities’ physical safety and religious liberty. The perpetrators of these disturbing attacks must be held accountable. We urge the DC government to investigate these assaults and crimes as hate crimes and the U.S Department of Justice to investigate the attacks on churches under the Church Arson Prevention Act.