BANGOR- A Bangor man was issued a criminal trespass warning while cleaning up what he called ‘hate speech,’ written by a local church.
“If you don’t leave when we tell you to, you’re going to go to jail. Alright?” an officer from the Bangor Police Department told Scott Hall.
Hall is a Bangor resident who’s made it his mission to prevent the spread of hate in the community.
He regularly washes scripture off the sidewalk he says targets the LGBTQ community.
“I really want to have a positive impact on my community. I can’t stand the hate speech. I can’t stand the intolerance. The citizens of Bangor should not have to walk by that everyday,” Hall said.
Police issued him a criminal trespassing warning on Friday night, while he was following the church group responsible for writing it.
“We care about him. We did not call the police. I’m not sure who did,” said the head pastor at the Mansion Church, Terry Dinkins. “We did not do that. We definitely don’t want any harm done to him. We just want to put the scripture down and let the scripture speak for itself.”
In a statement, Bangor police said:
“The issue is that the eraser was harassing the writer in the moment. That behavior continued. The police acted only on the action of harassment. The police did not make a determination with regard to the written message.”
“You can write things down. You can wash away what’s been written down,” said Paul Nicklas, the Bangor city solicitor. “The issue is if you did it in some other way that violated the law, like if you were being disorderly.”
Hall says he’s been washing the chalk off since 2016 and avoids conversing with the group from the Mansion Church.
“Over the years I‘ve gone to great pains not to engage with them or give them the silent treatment. I’ve never yelled at them or done any types of threats,” Hall explained.
Hall continued saying at times, he has been the recipient of threats from the group.
Other community members we spoke with agree with Hall, saying the scripture written by the group is used as hate speech.
“It would be wonderful if other groups could respect and recognize what kind of messages are inclusive, warm, loving, and caring and what kind of messages are really designed to cause hurt,” said Betsy Lundy, the downtown Bangor coordinator.
Hall said he’s already in the process of fighting the criminal trespass warning he received.
According to Dinkins, members of the Mansion Church do plan to continue their sidewalk scripture outreach.