A noose was found hanging from a tree outside St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Washington, DC, on Friday morning.
The noose was taken down by police and kept as evidence. A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police Department told BuzzFeed News that the incident is being investigated as a possible hate crime.
In a note posted on the church’s website, the church’s reverend said that they prayed with police officers and church staff after the noose was removed from the tree.
“That symbol of hatred has no place in our churchyard, in our city, or our country. I know that this symbol causes fear in ... people's hearts,” the Rev. Michele Morgan said.
The church has received “overwhelming” support from the community and past parishioners since the incident, Morgan said.
The Thirteenth, a vocal ensemble, had been renting the church’s space for two weeks, to practice for a performance that portrays Jesus as a Black man and tells the crucifixion story through a lens of systemic racism, when the noose appeared Friday morning.
The church has also had Black Lives Matter flags stolen over the past year.
DC churches have been targeted in recent months for their support of the Black Lives Matter movement and as political violence encapsulated the capital following the presidential election.
In January, the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church filed a lawsuit against the Proud Boys, saying that the group destroyed its Black Lives Matter banner and trespassed on its property.