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A Historic Black Church Was Awarded $1 Million in Lawsuit Against the Proud Boys

A Historic Black Church Was Awarded $1 Million in Lawsuit Against the Proud Boys

Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, a historic Black church in downtown Washington, D.C., has emerged victorious in a lawsuit against the Proud Boys, a far-right activist group.

The church took legal action after the Proud Boys tore down and burned a Black Lives Matter banner during a rally in 2020. In a landmark ruling, Superior Court Associate Judge Neal A. Kravitz not only awarded the church more than $1 million in damages, but also issued a five-year restraining order against the Proud Boys, preventing them from approaching the church or its pastor.

Rev. William H. Lamar IV, the pastor of Metropolitan AME, shared 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,” Lamar 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.”

The Proud Boys targeted Metropolitan AME by tearing down and burning two Black Lives Matter banners, along with another Black church, during the rallies held in December 2020, which involved clashes between pro-Donald Trump supporters and civil rights groups. In their lawsuit, Metropolitan AME accused the Proud Boys of trespassing and destroying religious property, claiming a violation of both D.C. and federal laws.

“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.”

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