The wave of bogus hate crimes sweeping America in 2017 shows no signs of waning. It’s always a good rule of thumb to assume any highly-publicized “bias” attacks are usually bogus, and once again we’re right. Considering there’s video evidence, even the conspiracy nuts will have trouble with this one.
Authorities have ruled out bias as the motive in the vandalism of five predominantly black churches after charging a 45-year-old Morristown resident on Sunday.
Zuri C. Towns attended services at one of the churches as a child, Morris County Prosecutor Fredric Knapp said.
“As a result of the investigation, no evidence was obtained that would indicate this was a bias incident which legally requires purpose to intimidate a person or group based upon their protected class,” authorities said in a news release announcing the arrest.
Towns has been charged with four counts of fourth-degree criminal mischief and one count of third-degree criminal mischief.
Members of the five churches — four in Morristown and one in Morris Township — discovered on Saturday that exterior signs had been broken or damaged. At one church, a stained glass window was shattered.
Authorities launched a bias investigation and Gov.-elect Phil Murphy tweeted a condemnation of “cowardly acts.” The pastor of Bethel A.M.E. Church said some congregants were so unsettled by what happened that they opted not to attend Sunday services.
However, the focus shifted after a surveillance video outside Church of God in Christ for All Saints showed a man, later identified by police as Towns, throwing a rock against a window.
When first reported, the usual suspects were busy flapping their gums.
Governor-elect Phil Murphy responded to the crimes on Twitter.
“Disgusted by reported vandalism of African-American churches across Morristown. These cowardly acts will not shake our faith,” Murphy said. “They will renew our determination to come together as one NJ.”
Oops. Here’s video: