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Police Investigate Confederate Flags Found At Historic Martin Luther King Jr. Church

A maintenance worker reportedly discovered the flags, which were placed on the grounds of the church, Thursday morning.

Originally posted on
Updated on
Confederate flags sit in the back of a police car outside Ebenezer Baptist Church.
David Goldman / AP

Confederate flags sit in the back of a police car outside Ebenezer Baptist Church.

Rev. Raphael G. Warnock, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, center left, waits with Atlanta Police Chief George Turner, left, to speak at a news conference.
AP Photo

Rev. Raphael G. Warnock, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, center left, waits with Atlanta Police Chief George Turner, left, to speak at a news conference.

Atlanta police are currently searching for two white men who were caught on security cameras placing Confederate flags around Ebenezer Baptist Church, the Associated Press reported. The landmark building is where Martin Luther King, Jr. began his career as a pastor and is part of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site.

Local police have teamed up with federal investigators to determine whether it was a hate crime.

A representative from Atlanta FBI told BuzzFeed News that a "Task Force Officer from the Atlanta FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force is currently on scene to better determine if any specific threats were received and to provide any needed support to the Atlanta Police Department as they look into this matter."

Authorities told the AP that a maintenance worker first saw the flags around 6 a.m. Thursday. They were reportedly not stuck in the ground, but set "neatly" on top of it. One flag was placed next to a poster that read "Black Lives Matter."

The Rev. Raphael Warnock called the incident a "terroristic threat" and interpreted the act as a means of intimidation.

Rev. Warnock, a senior pastor at Ebenezer, added that this was not the first time perpetrators planted Confederate flags on church grounds.

"It was disturbing and sickening, but unfortunately not terribly surprising," he said.

BuzzFeed News has reached out to Ebenezer Baptist Church for more information.

Tamerra Griffin is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based Nairobi, Kenya.

Contact Tamerra Griffin at tamerra.griffin@buzzfeed.com.

Michael Hayes is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Mike Hayes at mike@buzzfeed.com.

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