| USA TODAY
When is a crime a hate crime?
Police haven’t ruled the killing of Muslim-American Nabra Hassanen, 16, a hate crime.
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Police in Texas and the FBI are investigating after a Black family awoke to find their vehicles on fire and “Trump 20” spray painted on the garage last week.
Jayla Gipson and Charles Crawford told local media they believe the incident was brought on by a Black Lives Matter sign they put in their yard around Thanksgiving that was defaced with red paint.
“That sign was in my yard for less than two weeks and then all of a sudden we get a tragedy like this,” Gipson told WFAA.
Gipson told NBC News her 21-year-old son noticed the fire around midnight on Dec. 9 and woke the rest of the family who were able to leave unharmed. She said her 12-year-old daughter was asleep in her room right next to the garage where the cars were burning.
“It’s definitely a hate crime,” Gipson told the outlet. “‘Trump 2020’ was sprayed on our garage, our ‘Black Lives Matter’ sign was spray painted, and our cars were engulfed in flames.”
The fire and police departments in Little Elm canvassed the scene, interviewed neighbors and reviewed footage from nearby cameras, according to a release from police.
Katie Chaumont with the FBI’s Dallas office told USA TODAY that the agency is aware of the incident and is working alongside local law enforcement. Police Chief Rodney Harrison told the Little Elm Journal that it’s too early to say if this was a hate crime.
“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,” he said. “We’re looking at all possible angles.”
Gipson told the outlet both cars were declared a total loss and the damage is estimated at $70,000. A GoFundMe has raised more than $17,000 for the family so far.
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