(Updated at 1:35 p.m.) Someone defaced a sign promoting racial justice, placed by a church near Clarendon.
The vandalism happened overnight in front of the Clarendon United Methodist Church (606 N. Irving Street).
A photo sent to ARLnow (above) shows the words “It’s OK to be white” scrawled in block letters on the second of a pair of banners. The banners are signed by parishioners and declare: “Clarendon United Methodist Church is committed to fighting against systemic racial injustice. I will be part of the solution.”
The church tells ARLnow that it was able to successfully remove the graffiti this morning.
“We lament that anyone would choose to deface our sign but we are glad that they have given us further opportunity to affirm our stand against systemic racial injustice and our commitment to be a part of the solution,” a church employee said via email. “We restored the sign to its original intended message this morning.”
The church’s pastor, Rev. Tracy McNeil Wines, also released the following statement.
The murders of George Floyd and countless other Black men, women, and children have further brought to light a long history that bears the unmistakable stains of exclusion, oppression, and violence. We are called by conscience and by God to rise up and stand with those whose pain is etched onto the heart of our nation. We recognize the significant disparities in opportunity for all people of color in education, housing, health, and employment, and in restricted access to security and justice. As people of faith in Jesus Christ, it is essential that we act to dismantle racism.
At Clarendon United Methodist Church, we are committed to the fight against systemic racial injustice. We acknowledge that racism is a sin that works in direct opposition to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and we join in the call to resist its powerful influence. Together we yearn for a world that reflects God’s will for just treatment and full inclusion of all persons. We resolve to resist evil, injustice and oppression, and so we cannot rest until the work of dismantling racism is done. Courage and conviction are required in the fight, and we pray that God’s Spirit may empower us with grace equal to the task.
We must take both communal and individual responsibility for justice. Change ultimately begins with transformed hearts. Therefore, we commit to opening our hearts to the transforming grace of Jesus Christ. Deep repentance is required. We will seek to educate ourselves and others — to discern the breadth of racism’s impact, to see and acknowledge its effects, and to uncover its influence in our own lives and in our shared life together. We will follow equal employment practices, and intentionally increase opportunities for the voices of Black people and all people of color to be heard in the life and leadership of our church. We will work to tear down the entrenched racial and economic divide that is present in Arlington County and beyond, dedicating resources to aim at both the effects and the root causes of injustice. We affirm that this effort must be an ongoing commitment.
None of us can move forward if one of us is left behind.
This is the second such vandalism of a racial justice sign on church property in as many weeks in Arlington. The “Black” in “Black Lives Matter” was cut out of a sign in front of Rock Spring Congregational church last week. In D.C., meanwhile, a mural “lifting up the names and legacies of Dorothy Day and MLK Jr.” in front of a church was found ripped down this morning.
Photo (top) courtesy anonymous, (bottom) courtesy Clarendon United Methodist Church
For the second time, someone has vandalized a Black Lives Matter sign at Rock Spring Congregational church in North Arlington.
Sometime between last night and noon today, someone cut out the word “Black” in the sign at the corner of Rock Spring Road and Little Falls Road.
Someone did the same thing to a Black Lives Matter sign on the church lawn in 2015.
“I no idea who’s doing it,” Rev. Dr. Kathryn Dwyer told ARLnow Tuesday afternoon. Dwyer, the church’s senior pastor, said there are no video cameras that might have captured the incident. She has filed a police report, after initially learning about the vandalized sign from a neighbor.
Dwyer said the church is ordering two new signs as a replacement, and plans to place them higher, on the church building itself. A community member, meanwhile, has offered to try to fix the existing sign.
“I think that the vandalism demonstrates that we clearly have an issue, even here in Arlington, Virginia,” Dwyer said. Cutting out the word Black is “sort of like saying ‘all lives matter,'” she said.
“When I explain this to my congregation, I’ve explained how if your child asks if they love them, responding ‘honey I love all children’ is not satisfying,” Dwyer said. “We’re at a point in time in our country where people of color are being so oppressed it’s the job of all of us to assure them that they’re loved and they matter.”
Tomorrow the church will be holding the first of a six-week virtual course over Zoom entitled “Challenging White Supremacy: Becoming Anti-Racist.” All 100 spots sold out within 4-5 days, Dwyer noted.
Police are looking for a man who broke a window at a fast-food restaurant along Lee Highway last night.
The incident happened around 11:30 p.m. on the 5000 block of Lee Highway, according to Arlington County Police. The restaurant is not named but that block is home to a Wendy’s.
“Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect, who was a passenger in a vehicle in a drive thru line, became irate while waiting for his order, exited his vehicle and threw a cell phone at the window of the business, causing damage,” ACPD said in a crime report. “The suspect re-entered the vehicle and fled prior to police arrival.”
Two Arlington teens are facing felony charges after an alleged vandalism spree in the new Dorothy Hamm Middle School.
Police were dispatched to the under-construction school on Vacation Lane — which formerly housed the H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program — just after 11 p.m. Wednesday, following a burglar alarm activation. They found two 18-year-olds and a slew of damaged property, according to the Arlington County Police Department.
“Arriving officers established a perimeter and observed the suspects exit the building,” police said in a crime report. “One suspect was taken into custody, while the second suspect attempted to flee on foot. Officers later located the second suspect nearby and took him into custody without incident.”
The teens “were arrested and charged with Burglary with Intent to Commit Larceny/Assault & Battery/Other Felony, Conspiracy to Commit a Felony, Destruction of Property and Consume/Purchase/Possess Alcohol: <21 Years Old,” the crime report said. “They were held on no bond.”
A police spokeswoman said the damage was mostly from graffiti.
“The suspects allegedly tore down posters and papers and spray painted various items throughout the building,” said ACPD’s Ashley Savage. “A cost estimate of damages is ongoing.”
A man is in police custody after he allegedly went berserk at an apartment building in the Bluemont neighborhood, near Ballston.
The incident happened shortly before 3 p.m. and drew a crowd outside the building.
Initial details are sketchy, but Arlington County Police say they were dispatched to the 800 block of N. Wakefield Street for a report of a man damaging property. Upon officers arriving, the man threw a dumbbell out of an apartment window, according to police.
Broken windows could be seen on the third floor of the building. Firefighters also responded and were asked to evaluate a possible gas leak from an appliance in the apartment, according to scanner traffic.
Officers were ultimately able to arrest the suspect.
“The subject was taken into custody and will be transported to an area hospital for evaluation,” said ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “”No officers were injured.”
“We remain on scene investigating,” Savage added. “There’s no ongoing threat to the community.”
Local Coronavirus Test Results Delayed — “When we talked to an Arlington man Tuesday, it was approaching 11 days since he’d been tested for COVID-19, and he still hadn’t received his results. ‘It’s just so frustrating,’ Daniel Miller told us via FaceTime. ‘I just want my results back. I want to be able to know what I have. I want to know if this is COVID or not.'” [WJLA]
APS to Rethink Budget Proposal — “Arlington School Board members have given Superintendent Cintia Johnson direction to start battening the hatches as the school system – like the county, state and nation – move into rough economic waters. ‘We’re going to have to look at potential tough budget times’ and ‘figure out a way to move forward,’ School Board Vice Chairman Monique O’Grady said.” [InsideNova]
Local Restaurant Owner Still Optimistic — The outbreak has been devastating for the restaurant business, but some local owners are making the most of it. Amir Mostafavi, founder of the South Block juice chain, is giving away free fruit to kids in need during the crisis. “We’re going to come out of this as stronger people, as stronger businesses,” Mostafavi told NBC 4. [LinkedIn]
Bayou Bakery Closing Its Takeout Service — “Having persevered for three weeks through the limitations of the current public health situation, Arlington’s Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery is temporarily closing its doors to ‘Call-In, Carry Out’ service on April 1, 2020. Chef/owner David Guas will continue his mission to provide the community and underserved kids and families with free, grab-and-go meals.” [Press Release]
Shuttle Bus Company Helps Collect Food — “FLARE, an amenity electric shuttle service, along with the Aurora Highlands Civic Association, collected and delivered over 800 lbs. of food donations from the Crystal City area for the Arlington Food Assistance Center on Saturday, March 21, and announced that food collection efforts will continue in the Crystal City area starting today.” [Press Release]
Photo courtesy Allison Bredbenner
A 33-year-old D.C. man was arrested after police say he vandalized about 17 cars in the Courthouse area.
The vandalism was reported to police around 12:45 a.m. Saturday, near the intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. Rhodes Street, which is roughly halfway between the Courthouse and Rosslyn Metro stations.
The suspect has been charged with both Destruction of Property and Public Intoxication, according to police.
More from an ACPD crime report:
DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY (Series), 2020-03140010, N. Rhodes Street at Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 12:45 a.m. on March 14, police were dispatched to the report of a vehicle tampering. Upon arrival, officers located a subject matching the description provided by witnesses and took him into custody without incident. The investigation determined that approximately 17 vehicles had been damaged to include removal of rear windshield wipers, broken rear windshields and a damaged side mirror. Zachary Fithian, 33, of Washington D.C. was arrested and charged with Public Intoxication and Destruction of Property. He was released on bond.
About 10 cars were damaged in a vandalism spree in Ballston earlier this week, according to police.
On either Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, the tires were slashed and paint scratched on a number of cars, Arlington County Police say. The incident happened on the the 4200 block of 11th Street N., about 1-2 blocks from Washington-Liberty High School
Police are investigating the vandalism but do not have a suspect description.
More from ACPD:
DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY-VEHICLE (series), 2019-10020211, 4200 block of 11th Street N. At approximately 6:14 p.m. on October 2, police were dispatched to the report of destruction of property. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 6:00 p.m. on October 1 and 8:30 a.m. on October 2, an unknown suspect(s) slashed the tires and scratched the paint of approximately ten vehicles. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.
Map via Google Maps
Police say nearly two dozen parked cars had their tires slashed over the weekend. It happened on the 4500 and 4600 blocks of S. Four Mile Run Drive and the 1100 block of S. Thomas Street, just south of the Pike in the Douglas Park neighborhood.
So far, police have no suspect description, only saying that the “investigation is ongoing.”
“Officers canvased the area for surveillance and witnesses with negative results,” said ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “Anyone who witnessed suspicious activity in the area on Friday evening into Saturday morning or has any information related to the investigation is asked to contact police.”
More from a crime report:
DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY – VEHICLE (series), 2019-05110081/05110088/05110096, 4600 block of S. Four Mile Run Drive/4500 block of S. Four Mile Run Drive/1100 block of S. Thomas Street. At approximately 7:28 a.m. on May 11, police were dispatched to the report of destruction of property. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 8:30 p.m. on May 10 and 6:30 a.m. on May 11, the tires of approximately 22 vehicles parked in the area were slashed. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.
Patriot Front, a group identified as a “white nationalist hate group,” took credit on social media earlier this month for its “activists” placing the stickers in Arlington. Photos from the social media post appear to show the stickers — with slogans like “reclaim America” and “better dead than red” — in Crystal City and Pentagon City.
More recently, Fairlington residents reported in a local Facebook group that a number of stickers had been placed around the neighborhood. One of the stickers has the slogan “Keep America American” and urges people to “report and and all illegal aliens.” A Fairlington resident said in the post that he took down some of the stickers.
The effort has led to charges against at least one man. A 21-year-old Herndon man was arrested on Saturday, March 16 and charged with destruction of property after Vienna police allegedly saw him place a Patriot Front sticker on a public utility box, our sister site Reston Now reported exclusively.
This is not the only recent instance of a hate group being active in Arlington. KKK recruitment flyers popped up in the East Falls Church neighborhood last year.
The incident happened Sunday night in Clarendon.
Around 8:15 p.m., a man was asked to leave a restaurant on the 2900 block of Wilson Blvd, which is home to Ambar, Wilson Hardware, Mexicali Blues and other businesses. After an “altercation” with the bouncer the man walked away, but came back shortly thereafter and threw a rock, shattering the business’ window, according to police.
No injuries were reported and the man then fled before police arrived on scene.
More from this week’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:
MISSILE INTO OCCUPIED DWELLING, 2019-02100215, 2900 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 8:23 p.m. on February 10, police were dispatched to the report of destruction of property. Upon arrival, it was determined that after the male suspect was asked to leave a business, he became disgruntled and became engaged in an altercation with the bouncer. The altercation was resolved and the suspect started to walk away, but re-approached the business and threw a rock at the window, causing it to shatter. The suspect fled prior to police arrival. The suspect is described as an Asian or Hispanic male, approximately 5’7″-5’9″, with black hair that was longer in the back and a receding hairline, with a skinny build. The investigation is ongoing.
The rest of this week’s crime report, including Monday’s attempted bank robbery on Columbia Pike, is below.
ATTEMPTED ARMED ROBBERY, 2019-02100225, 400 block of 23rd Street S. At approximately 8:51 p.m. on February 10, police were dispatched to the report of an armed robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that the male suspect entered a business and approached an employee behind the counter and brandished a knife. The suspect demanded cash, however, another customer entered the business, prompting the suspect to flee on foot prior to police arrival. Nothing was reported stolen from the business and no injuries were reported. The suspect is described as a tall, slender, black male, wearing light washed blue jeans, black shoes, a black jacket with a black hoodie underneath, and carrying a backpack. The investigation is ongoing.
ATTEMPTED BANK ROBBERY, 2019-02110123, 3500 block of Columbia Pike. At approximately 2:15 p.m. on February 11, police were dispatched to the report of a robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that an unknown suspect entered the bank, passed the teller a note demanding money and displayed a firearm, before fleeing the scene without any money. Arriving officers established a perimeter and canvased the area with negative results. The suspect is described as a black male, approximately 5’9″-6’0″, 20-30 years old, wearing dark clothing, a construction mask, and covering his face. The investigation is ongoing.
Police released surveillance images of the bank robbery suspect Thursday afternoon.
ACPD is seeking the public's assistance identifying this attempted bank robbery suspect captured in surveillance images. Tips can be reported anonymously to Arlington County Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS(8477). https://t.co/IqUPqg2fV6 pic.twitter.com/U9xWyV4nAc
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) February 14, 2019