A surveillance video caught two unidentified men placing Confederate flags at two locations on Thursday. The locations were Ebenezer Baptist Church and Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Site.
While authorities are looking into the matter and what motivated the individuals to place the flags, the incident was condemned by church and civic leaders who said that it was an act of terrorism.
The black and white videos taken from Ebenezer’s surveillance cameras that showed two men placing the flags at various spots were released by the police later Thursday.
According to Atlanta Journal Constitution, the flags were first noticed by a maintenance man, who informed a federal park ranger. Subsequently, the police were notified and local and federal investigators responded to the Auburn Avenue sites.
The flags were removed and taken in as evidence.
Rev. Shanan Jones of Ebenezer Baptist Church said, “Our grounds men were so upset, they took pictures and then they moved them.”
In an email, FBI Special Agent Steve Emmett said that an officer from the Atlanta FBI’s joint terrorism task force was at the site to “better determine if any specific threats were received” and assist Atlanta police.
Officials are also determining whether the flags were placed on the church or federal property.
The incident comes weeks after pictures of Dylann Roof, who opened fire in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston, South Carolina, on June 17, waving the Confederate flag surfaced online.
The shooting, which caused the deaths of nine people, prompted South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley to call for the removal of the flag, a symbol of slavery and oppression, from the state grounds. The flag was eventually taken down on July 10.
Rev. Raphael Warnock, senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, said that it was a “hateful act,” as reported by USA Today.
“I view it as an effort to intimidate us in some way, and we will not be intimidated,” he said.
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