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New York man burns LGBT-welcoming rainbow bench outside church to ‘send it back to hell’

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An upstate New York man who saw a rainbow bench sitting outside a church decided he needed to send it “back to hell,” Fox28 reports.

Francis “Dominic” Solis, 47, was caught on surveillance video allegedly burning the couch, which was placed outside the First Presbyterian Church in Ogdensburg to symbolize acceptance of the LGBT community. He turned himself in to authorities on Wednesday.

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Solis was charged with a hate crime because of his hatred toward the LGBT community, authorities said.

“The reaction I had to it practically knocked me off my bike. It brought back every single memory from the time I had been molested from the time I was 8 years old, on into the time I was 14 years old,” Solis said in a statement to police obtained by Fox28.

He added the bench reminded him of “what happened to me as a child by adult gay men.”

He apparently planned the attack all weekend before carrying it out, telling police he “slowly assembled my kit” which included Gatorade bottles filled with fuel. After torching the bench, he went to a cathedral and sat in front of a statue of Mary and said a prayer, and then went to the park for a cigarette.

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His attorney said Solis is mentally ill at his court hearing.

Church officials told the Watertown Daily Times that the bench was handmade and hand painted.

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It has been a very sad day at The First Presbyterian Church of Ogdensburg. the bench that was hand crafted with such…

Posted by First Presbyterian Church of Ogdensburg on Monday, September 7, 2015

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“We are going to rebuild it,” Rev. Laurena M. Wickham Will told the Times. “This really is a loving church. The people who belong are very good. At least 20 people have already stopped by today to offer their support after what happened.”

Surveillance video posted to YouTube by the Watertown Daily Times below allegedly shows Solis near the church, where he appears to change his clothes.

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Trump fans smacked down for whining the president is being called a ‘racist’ in righteous rant

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Addressing complaints from both White House officials and fans of Donald Trump that they are tired of hearing the president called a racist, "AM Joy" regular Tiffany Cross fired right back saying they better get used to it.

Following clips of White House adviser Stephen Miller attempting to explain the White House's policies on immigrants, the co-founder of The Beat DC stood up for labeling the president as a bogot.

"It's accurate, you have to call a thing a thing," she began. "I think that's part of the reason why we got here because in 2015, when he kicked off his campaign with a bunch of racist rhetoric, there was a hesitancy to call it out. And there was the first two years of his presidency when he introduced ridiculous white supremacist policies and would follow that up with additional racist rhetoric and we have an echo chamber of people repeating these things, so we have to call a thing a thing."

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‘That is ridiculous’: Andrew Gillum obliterates Santorum for claiming guns aren’t ‘problem’ in mass shootings

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CNN contributor Andrew Gillum called conservative pundit Rick Santorum "ridiculous" on Sunday for suggesting that guns are not the problem in mass shootings.

During a CNN discussion on gun control, Santorum criticized calls from Democratic candidates for the government to buy back assault-style weapons in addition to banning them.

"The truth is something has to give," Gillum said. "The stranglehold that the NRA seems to have over Congress, over Washington, D.C., in my opinion, is insane. How can we put the priorities of one interest group above the safety, the security of the American people?"

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CNN’s Jake Tapper confronts Trump adviser Navarro with long list of experts calling him a disaster

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In a highly contentious interview on CNN's "State of the Union", host Jake Tapper confronted Donald Trump's top economic adviser, Peter Navarro, with a seemingly endless list of economists, analysts and business publications who believe he and his economic advice have both been a disaster and that he is not being straight with the public.

After refusing multiple times to concede that President Donald Trump's trade war -- and accompanying tariffs -- are having any effect on an economy that many financial prognosticators believe is headed towards a recession, Tapper confronted the White House adviser with the list of his critics -- including the Wall Street Journal.

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