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Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church has filed a $22 million lawsuit against the Proud Boys and its leaders for vandalizing the church amid violent protests after former President Donald Trump lost reelection.
Washington, D.C. was mired in protest between December 2020 to January 2021, and several downtown congregations and their “Black Lives Matter” signs were burned and destroyed.
“Our message to the Proud Boys is that you will not destroy our house of worship, you will not destroy the legacy of our ancestors, and you will not destroy our property,” said Rev. William Lamar, pastor of Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, in an interview with The Informer.
In court papers filed by the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law on Dec. 12, 2020, the Proud Boys were identified as “a violent all-male extremist group with ties to white nationalism,” who attacked and vandalized the Metropolitan A.M.E. Church, a historically Black church.
“Proud Boys members climbed over a fence to reach the Churches property and destroyed a large Black Lives Matter sign.”
During this same period, the Proud Boys also destroyed the “Black Live Matters” sign in front of Asbury United Methodist Church, then a crowd carried it down 11th Street and set it on fire.
“It’s not about the money, it is bringing them to a point to stamp out evil,” said Rev. Ianther Mills, pastor of the Asbury United Methodist Church, who emphasized her church is focused on ministry.
“Last Sunday we had a Palm Sunday procession with a Live Donkey,” Mills said.
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and co-counsel filed a lawsuit against the Proud Boys and their leader Enrique Tarrio for vandalizing Metropolitan.
The lawsuit alleges violation of D.C.’s hate crimes law, violation of federal law protecting religious property, conspiracy, trespass, and property destruction. The case was filed in Superior Court for the District of Columbia.
The Proud Boys and Enrique Tarrio failed to show up and defend themselves in court, and a motion for default was filed on Tuesday, Feb. 16.
Lamar said the church’s lawyers would be back in court beginning April 11, emphasizing that the legal fight will continue until justice is achieved.