Officials gather to try and prevent a church from being the target of more racial attacks

MT. CLEMENS, Mich. (WXYZ) - Officials in Macomb County, the FBI, and the sheriff's department met Thursday night to prevent a Mt. Clemens church from being the target of more racial attacks.

7 Action News first brought you the story at 5 p.m. on Wednesday when someone spray painted a racial slur outside on the church's sign at Divine Restoration Ministries.

"I have a war on my streets," said one man in the crowd. "On my street, 'KKK' has been written on cars," he said. 

You could hear the frustration in people's voices as they gathered in the sanctuary of the church and felt like they had stepped back in time.

Someone scrawled the 'n' word and 'babies' on their church's sign sometime during the day on Tuesday with a can of spray paint. The hateful message first spotted by Thomas Barnes as he drove by the church.

"This is a predominantly African American church in a predominantly Caucasian neighborhood so to see something like that and to know we are such a diverse community, it's very strange and appalling," said Barnes.

A nearby neighborhood watch group says they will start to include the church in their routine patrols and checks.

"I would really like to try and forge some kind of partnership, some kind of alliance so we can look after each other," said Roseanna Ondra with the Kendrick Area Neighborhood Watch. 

They work under the supervision of the Macomb County Sheriff's Department.  The sheriff's department and the FBI also offered up their help Thursday night. The Macomb County branch of the NAACP also offered up their support at the meeting tonight.

This is not the first time that the church or its members have been the target of racial slurs and Bishop-Elect J. Richard Evans Sr. said it is only getting worse.

"People have driven by and shouted things out of the car window sometimes.  We've had incidents where people wrote things in the parking lot, racial slurs," said Bishop-Elect Evans.

The church has been at their location for two years and in the City of Mt. Clemens for a total of five years.  Bishop-Elect Evans said they will not be pushed out.

"I think that you have a certain element that really doesn't want us here. But for the most part, it's been okay," he said.

The Macomb County Sheriff's Department is not labeling the racial graffiti as a hate crime just yet, but said the investigation is leaning toward that way. They have to find the person responsible to find their motives.

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