Racist vandals attacked a Black suburban Dallas family’s property. They set fire to their cars and spray painted hateful messages, which the family believed was in retaliation for placing a “Black Lives Matter” sign in their yard last month.
“It’s definitely a hate crime,” Jayla Gipson told NBC News. Her son was in the home’s bathroom after midnight Wednesday when he smelled smoke. When he went outside he saw the vehicles burning. “Trump 2020’ was sprayed on our garage, our ‘Black Lives Matter’ sign was spray painted, and our cars were engulfed in flames.”
Gipson lives with her partner Charles Crawford in the Little Elm, Tex., home with their son and daughter. They moved to the neighborhood in 2017 and have had no problems. She believes that the sign, which they put up after Thanksgiving, was what drew attackers to their house.
When they assessed the damage, in addition to the graffiti, they found burned car parts all over their driveway, the windows to their vehicles smashed, and their garage door burned.
“It’s horrible,” she said. “Had that sign not been in my yard, I don’t think this would have ever been an incident for us.”
No injuries were reported and there have been no arrests. Police have not yet determined that the incident was a hate crime but have launched an investigation.
“It’s an open, active investigation,” Police Chief Rodney Harrison told local newspaper the Little Elm Journal. “We’re working with our federal partners to get through it, and we’re working a lot of different angles to see what took place.”
But the attack on their home came at an awful time for Gipson. “I’m recovering from brain surgery,” Gipson told the Journal in an interview. “Sept. 23 is the last time I worked. This just adds to the toll of what we’re already going through.
“We definitely feel targeted,” she continued. “It’s political, and it’s uncalled for. I don’t feel like we should have to go through that. This is because of how my family’s identity and that we shared a Black Lives Matter sign.”
A GoFundMe account was set up to help cover the cost of the damage to the family’s property, which Gipson said comes to as much as $70,000.
“For the perpetrators it was cowardly,” Gipson said. “I hope they pay the price.”