A church in Los Angeles is apologizing after two of its volunteers were recorded posting a “no trespassing” sign in order to stop a Black woman from sitting on its lawn.
St. Paul First Lutheran Church in North Hollywood said the actions in the video posted by actress Alex Marshall-Brown is not representative of the place of worship’s values. Newsweek reports that the men who posted the sign have also voluntarily stepped down from their positions.
The footage shows two men putting a sign on a tree while Marshall-Brown sits on the grass with her laptop outside of the church. They claimed the area is “private property” to which she asked, “The church is not welcoming me?”
"No, we're not," one of the men replies. "We have a lot of problems with people here from the park vandalizing and we don't want anyone on the private property. The mayor says you can have all the sidewalk you want, but you can't be on the grass."
Marshall-Brown then asked for clarification on what she had vandalized and if she came off as posing a threat. The man responded that she is doing neither, adding: "You gave people a bad time so I'm going to take care of it. You told them there's no trespassing signs so I'm putting a 'no trespassing' sign right here...that's for you. You know we used to be real nice about it, not anymore. When people are not nice, we're not nice."
Marshall-Brown then asked how she’s been unkind, to which one of the men responded, "We have to treat everyone the same; all lives matter."
He continued: "I'm protecting the church from everything, not just from you, from everything and when I put up 'no trespassing' signs and then somebody tears it down and then somebody is trespassing and the police come and say I can't do anything because there's no trespassing sign."
1. A black woman (@amarshallbrown) was sitting on a blanket with her laptop on the lawn outside a church in North Hollywood getting some work done. The church called the cops on her and then had staff come out and install "no trespassing" signs. pic.twitter.com/yyQmdUhtSS— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) July 9, 2020
Marshall-Brown then inquired whether her actions will cause the men to call the police.
"So you're willing to call the cops for somebody sitting on a piece of grass when there are clear crimes they should be taking care of?" she asks.
A white woman is then seen recording Marshall-Brown, claiming that people sitting on the grass threaten children.
"You don't know what they're gonna do," the woman said. "You clearly have your own agenda."
Santiago Botero, the acting principal at St. Paul’s school said in a statement that the incident "could've and should've been handled more respectfully."
Botero says the church has been trying to decrease the amount of people loitering outside of their establishment for the safety of the children attending their preschool.
"We had to implement this in response to several incidents of vandalism the church and school experienced," Botero said. "While Alex was not complying with that policy, she was clearly not harming any person or property and it should've been more clearly and more respectively communicated to her.”
The statement continues: "I am personally offended by what I saw in the video and would like to apologize on behalf of St. Paul's First. As Christians, it is our duty to demonstrate to others the love and mercy that Christ shows to us. Unfortunately, this did not happen yesterday.
"I immigrated to the United States and have experienced both love from people as well as racist assumptions about me as a Latino man, and even though I can't put myself in the shoes of the black community, this is why I want to represent St. Paul's First as a loving church," Botero concluded.
According to her website Marshall-Brown is an L.A. based actress and stuntwoman who appeared as Vi Moradi at the dedication ceremony of Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland.
Photo: Alex Marshall-Brown