A man from Severn received a suspended sentence and a year of probation after pleading to a hate crime in connection with the destruction of Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ pride flags outside a church in Odenton last spring, Anne Arundel County prosecutors said Friday.
Prosecutors requested a jail sentence, but the court did not impose one.
Michal Billups, 29, received a three-year suspended sentence with one-year supervised probation during a hearing Tuesday. During that time, he will have to complete an anti-bias education program and 48 hours of community service, and have no contact with the church.
Officers were surveilling the Ark and Dove Presbyterian Church on Piney Orchard Parkway because of multiple thefts of BLM and pride flags at the church when on May 19, they saw a man destroy multiple pride flags and hearts in front of the church.
Billups was arrested after a foot chase toward Odenton Baptist Church, where his vehicle was parked, police said. He allegedly matched the description of the suspect in previous vandalism at the church.
“The defendant took it upon himself to destroy the signs and flags which the church displayed to promote their message of love and acceptance,” State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess said in a statement. “I am committed to prosecuting these crimes because hate-based incidents won’t be tolerated in our community.”
Correction: This story has been updated to correct the naming of Piney Orchard Parkway.