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Police Say Mississippi Church Fire And Vandalism Constitute Voter Intimidation

Investigators in Greenville, Mississippi are treating the act as a hate crime.

November 02, 2016

On Tuesday, vandals set fire to Hopewell Baptist Church in Greenville, Mississippi and spray painted "Vote Trump" on the church's outer wall. According to CNN, local officials are treating the incident as a hate crime, saying that it constitutes voter intimidation.

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At a press conference on Wednesday, pastor Carilyn Hudson said that most of the damage to the church was to the sanctuary. "We do believe that God will allow us to build another sanctuary in that same place," she told reporters. The extend of the damage is not yet known; no one was injured in the fire.

Greenville Police Chief Delando Wilson said that officers were "possibly talking to a person of interest," explaining that the act is being treated as voter intimidation. ""It tries to push your beliefs on someone else, and this is a church, a predominantly black church, and no one has a right to try and ... pressure someone into the way they want to decide to vote in this election."

Because Hopewell Baptist is a predominantly black church, the FBI is working "with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to determine if any civil rights crimes were committed," the bureau said in a statement.

Police Say Mississippi Church Fire And Vandalism Constitute Voter Intimidation