Church Tells Black Woman Sitting Outside She's Not Welcome, Posts 'No Trespassing' Sign

A church in Los Angeles has apologized after two of their volunteers were recorded putting up a "no trespassing" sign in an attempt to stop a Black woman from sitting on its front lawn.

The St. Paul First Lutheran Church in North Hollywood said the "disrespect" seen in the viral video posted by actress Alex Marshall-Brown is not representative of the place of worship's values and confirmed the men have since voluntarily stepped down from their positions.

The footage, which Marshall-Brown posted to social media, shows two men putting up a sign on a tree while she sits on the grass outside the church.

The men were attempting to have Marshall-Brown stop sitting on the grass outside the church because it is "private property."

"The church is not welcoming me?" Marshall-Brown asks.

"No, we're not," one of the men replies. "We have a lot of problems with people here from the park vandalizing and we don't want anyone on the private property. The mayor says you can have all the sidewalk you want, but you can't be on the grass."

Marshall-Brown then asks if she has vandalized anything or is even posing a threat. The man responds that she has not, adding: "You gave people a bad time so I'm going to take care of it. You told them there's no trespassing signs so I'm putting a 'no trespassing' sign right here...that's for you. You know we used to be real nice about it, not anymore. When people are not nice, we're not nice."

Marshall-Brown then asks how she has been unkind to them, to which he responds: "We have to treat everyone the same, all lives matter."

1. A black woman (@amarshallbrown) was sitting on a blanket with her laptop on the lawn outside a church in North Hollywood getting some work done. The church called the cops on her and then had staff come out and install "no trespassing" signs.

— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) July 9, 2020

The man reiterates that he is just trying to protect the church by putting up the sign and asking Marshall-Brown to move on.

"I'm protecting the church from everything, not just from you, from everything and when I put up 'no trespassing' signs and then somebody tears it down and then somebody is trespassing and the police come and say I can't do anything because there's no trespassing sign."

Marshall-Brown then asks whether his actions are a precursor to him calling the police.

"So you're willing to call the cops for somebody sitting on a piece of grass when there are clear crimes they should be taking care of?" she asks.

At this point, a white woman is seen recording Marshall-Brown, claiming that people sitting on the grass pose a threat to children.

"You don't know what they're gonna do," the woman said, before telling Marshall-Brown, "You clearly have your own agenda."

In a statement, Santiago Botero, acting principal at St. Paul's school, said the incident with Marshall-Brown and the volunteers at the church "could've and should've been handled more respectfully."

Botero confirmed that the church has tried to cut down on people loitering outside over fears for the safety of the children attending their preschool.

"We had to implement this in response to several incidents of vandalism the church and school experienced," Botero said. "While Alex was not complying with that policy, she was clearly not harming any person or property and it should've been more clearly and more respectively communicated to her.

"I am personally offended by what I saw in the video and would like to apologize on behalf of St. Paul's First.

"As Christians, it is our duty to demonstrate to others the love and mercy that Christ shows to us. Unfortunately, this did not happen yesterday," Botero added.

"I immigrated to the United States and have experienced both love from people as well as racist assumptions about me as a Latino man, and even though I can't put myself in the shoes of the black community, this is why I want to represent St. Paul's First as a loving church."

Marshall-Brown has been contacted for further comment.

The St. Paul First Lutheran Church in North Hollywood has apologized for the "disrespect" shown in the viral video. Google Maps