Ark-La-Tex church vandalized with racist, obscene graffiti

Wednesday, May 18, 2011 - 10:23am

A small Ark-La-Tex church has been the repeated target of racist graffiti.  Miller County investigators believe it could be a hate crime on a church member.

Under a fresh coat of paint are swastikas, racial slurs and obscene graffiti on a small church in Fouke, Arkansas where vandals have hit several times since May 5.

Investigators say church members were at the church until the early evening of May 4, but the next morning they discovered the green spray-painted graffiti covering the outside of the church.

A few days before, New Hope Baptist Church hosted an Easter festival where a church member brought a young black female child with them to the church.  Predominantly white members make up the church's membership.  Some people at a residence near the church yelled racial slurs at the people as the walked with the girl to the church, said Lt. Duke Schofield of the Miller County Sheriff's Crimes Investigation Department.

At the time the church tried to ignore it, but then the racist graffiti started over and over again.

Long time church member, Charles Clark, told us he does not know why someone would vandalize the church.  "It just tells me that something's going on.  I don't know what.  Somebody's mad at us," he said.

Investigators did contact the residents at the nearby home, but they said they were unaware of anything happening like this.  "They said they lived there alone, but they did have relatives that were in and out on weekends," said Lt. Schofield.

No arrests have been made in this case.  Authorities consider this a hate crime and have contacted the FBI for help with the investigation.  The Miller County Sheriff's Department asks for the help of nearby residents to keep a close eye on the church and to report any suspicious activity.

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