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Man arrested on suspicion of hate crimes at black church

Man arrested on suspicion of hate crimes at black church
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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — A man was arrested this week on suspicion of carrying out hate crimes at a historic black church.

Two recent fires and racist graffiti have caused problems at Cain Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church in central Bakersfield.

The first fire broke out in the morning hours of Sept. 9. One week later, another fire erupted outside the church.

Racist graffiti was left at two locations on church property. One hate-filled message read, "N------ go home" and had a swastika next to it. The other message, a few feet away, also contained a swastika and had the letters "KKK."

Police spokeswoman Michaela Sims said 38-year-old James Abernathy has been arrested on suspicion of felony vandalism of a church and two counts of committing hate crimes. She didn't say how officers linked Abernathy to the case or how he was arrested.

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