Virginia man charged with lying to agents about alleged involvement in cross burning

Virginia man charged with lying to agents about alleged involvement in cross burning
A man has been charged with lying to federal agents in connection to a cross burning. (Source: Marion Police Department via WVLT)

MARION, Va. (WWBT) - A Virginia man has been charged with lying to federal agents about his alleged involvement in a cross burning in the front lawn of African-American woman’s home in Marion.

James Brown, of Marion, was arrested on Friday and also charged with criminal interference with fair housing based upon the victim’s race.

“The frightening act at the center of today’s complaint—a racially motivated cross burning—interfered with the victim’s federally protected right to fair housing,” U.S. Attorney Cullen stated today. “Acts of violence, threats, and other forms of intimidation prompted by racial animus are serious federal crimes, and we will continue to work closely with the FBI to hold offenders accountable.”   

According to court documents, Marion police were called on June 14 just before 1 a.m. after a report of a burning cross in the front yard of an African-American family, one of whom had organized a civil rights protest the day before.

During the investigation with the FBI, officials said they learned of Brown’s possible involvement and say when they questioned him that he allegedly lied.

“Witnesses interviewed during the investigation stated that Brown admitted to the cross burning and used racial epithets when referring to the African American family,” a release said.

“The FBI is committed to protecting all citizens, and will aggressively investigate acts of intimidation or violence against anyone based on race or ethnicity,” Acting Special Agent in Charge Mathison said. “We thank the Marion County Police Department, the Smyth County Sheriff’s Office and the United States Attorney’s Office’s Western District of Virginia for their swift and direct attention to this incident.”

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