Two white males were caught on camera, laying Confederate battle flags on the ground near Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s church. Atlanta police officer Gary Wade said a maintenance worker was the person who found the flags at 6 a.m. Thursday morning and then notified the National Park Service, which operates the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, since it’s adjacent to the church.
One of the flag’s was placed near a bell tower under a poster that said: “Black Lives Matter.” On Thursday, Atlanta police Chief George Turner said his officers were working alongside federal authorities and hadn’t determined what, if any, charges might be sought.
According to Turner authorities had not ruled out a hate crime, even though Georgia has no state hate crimes law. Many are calling the act a “terroristic threat” however it isn’t clear whether they actually committed a crime.
In the opinion of two former Georgia prosecutors, the law doesn’t constitute leaving the flags near the church as terroristic threat. Former Dougherty County district attorney Ken Hodges said if any, a charge of vandalism to a place of worship might be possible.
That specific charge includes the malicious defacing or desecration of a church or place of worship.
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