June 10, 1996 |
Ministers of predominantly black churches that have been damaged or destroyed in a string of arson attacks told Atty. Gen. Janet Reno on Sunday of their anger and frustration with the pace of the investigation and the attitude of some of the law enforcement agents working on the cases. After the meeting with Reno and other top Justice Department officials, the Rev.
July 4, 1996 |
President Clinton signed into law a bill expanding federal jurisdiction over church burnings and strengthening federal penalties for such attacks. "I applaud the Congress' swift, unanimous and bipartisan passage of this bill," the president said in a statement. "I have signed it promptly upon its transmittal to me so that the new law can go into effect as soon as possible."
January 19, 1997 |
In the seven months since President Clinton ordered federal oversight of investigations into a rash of church burnings, authorities have made 104 arrests--eight times the previous rate, the government reported Saturday. The fires "offended every citizen who cherishes America's proud heritage of religious and ethnic diversity," Clinton said in heralding the report issued by the Treasury and Justice departments on behalf of the National Church Arson Task Force.
August 17, 1989 |
Fire deaths in the United States reached a seven-year high in 1988, when 6,215 people died, most of them in their homes, the National Fire Protection Assn. reported Wednesday. The association, a nonprofit trade group, said there were 7% more fatalities last year than in 1987, when fires killed 5,810 people. The 1988 total did not include the 62 firefighters who died in the line of duty.
June 9, 1997 |
One year after a rash of fires at African American churches prompted the creation of a national task force to combat church arson, its leaders said Sunday that they have found no evidence of a racist conspiracy or even a clear pattern to the crimes. "It's difficult to draw conclusions on why this happened," said Assistant Treasury Secretary James E. Johnson, who co-chaired the task force. "We have not seen hard evidence to support the theory of a nationwide conspiracy.
June 22, 1996 |
The apparent upsurge in arson-related church fires during the past 1 1/2 years stands in stark contrast to the trend of the past 15 years, according to insurance authorities. In 1980 there were 1,420 incendiary or suspicious fires involving churches and related property, compared to 520 such fires recorded in 1994, the latest figures available. That is the lowest level in 15 years, according to the National Fire Protection Assn., a nonprofit research group based in Quincy, Mass.