Pride flags stolen and incinerated in ‘possible hate crimes’
Police are investigating “possible hate crimes” after pride flags were stolen from people’s homes and incinerated.
Two rainbow flags were burned and a third is still missing after the series of thefts in Hudson, in Minnesota, this week.
There have been other incidents of pride flags being stolen in the area over the past year.
But the fact that two of the flags stolen this time have been burned, with one left in ashes on the pavement, means the offences were more serious.
In a statement on Facebook, the local police force said it was “investigating these incidents as possible hate crimes and we are asking for the public’s help in locating those responsible for these incidents.”
Police chief Marty Jensen told CBS Minnesota that this attack was different.
“One family has been targeted twice, so that ramps it up for us a little bit,” he said.
“We’re a very open community here, we enjoy everybody who comes and who lives here, and we want everybody to feel safe and secure.”
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Amy and Jon Hester, who lives in the area and also fly a pride flag from their home, told the TV news channel that the crimes worried them.
Jon said that “everyone should feel welcome here,” and Amy agreed.
“That was why we were hanging them in the first place, to really send that message loud and clear,” she said. “So yes, it’s upsetting for sure.
“Initially, it was a little bit upsetting they were taking them – we were replacing them – but this definitely took it to another level,” Amy said.
“Maybe if everybody knows what’s happened, then everyone will be on the lookout to make sure it can’t happen anymore,” Jon said.
The couple said they would keep flying their flag, pledging that the attacks would not stop them supporting the right of everyone to feel welcome in Hudson.