Local officials in Morristown, New Jersey, have arrested Zuri C. Towns in connection to the vandalization of five churches with majority black congregations. Towns is a black man. The attacks occurred on Friday and prompted national coverage. The pastor of one of the churches was interviewed by local news media. 

On Monday, authorities announced that they have ruled out racial bias as the motive for the vandalism. Towns (45) has been charged on Sunday. He stands charged with four counts of fourth-degree criminal mischief and one count of third-degree criminal mischief.

According to Morris County Prosecutor Fredric Knapp, the accused perpetrator attended one of the churches. “As a result of the investigation, no evidence was obtained that would indicate this was a bias incident which legally requires purpose to intimidate a person or group based upon their protected class,” read a news release from local authorities.

On Saturday, members of the five churches discovered that exterior signage had been broken or damaged. At one church, a stained glass window was shattered. One church is located in Morris Township, while the other four are in Morristown.

After the attacks were discovered, authorities began a hate crime investigation. New Jersey Gov.-elect Phil Murphy (D) condemned the “cowardly acts.”

 

 



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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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