Some are calling it a cross others are calling it a “T” post, but either way it was found burning on the side of a Mississippi road in Lawrence County.
“It’s a bad situation that we’ve come to this you know, burning a cross,” says Fay Mahaffey, neighbor.
Ashes still scatter around a hole about three feet from Sontag Nola Road.
Fay Mahaffey says her daughter in law spotted a burning make shift cross.
“When they were going to Brookhaven and seen a fire on the side of the road,” says Mahaffey.
The Lawrence County sheriff’s department is now investigating and got the FBI involved.
Authorities with the FBI say they are monitoring the situation to see if there’s been a violation under federal law.
“I think everybody’s shocked. I’m kind of shocked, but the way the world is today it’s not really too much of a shock because it’s just the time that we’re living in,” says Mahaffey.
Although it’s not confirmed that it’s connected to situations that happened in the past, in the early 20th century members of the Ku Klux Klan burned crosses on hillsides or near homes to intimidate people.
“I don’t know who would do it but I sure hate it that they’re around here doing it and the reason I don’t know,” says Mahaffey.
Under the First Amendment, hate speech is protected unless proven that the speaker intended violence or to intimidate someone.
In recent decades, the U.S. Supreme Court took on two cases involving burning crosses and in both incidents defendants were arrested and convicted of a crime.