August 15, 2017 at 5:28 pm EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Rainbow flag burned outside D.C. home
rainbow flag, gay news, Washington Blade

A rainbow flag flying at 1600 block of Gales Street, N.E., was torn down and burned. (Image by by torbakhopper; courtesy Flickr)

One or more unidentified suspects pulled down a rainbow flag attached by a pole to a row house in Northeast D.C. and set it on fire late Sunday night, Aug. 13, or early Monday morning, Aug. 14, according to a D.C. police report.

The report says the owner and resident of the house on the 1600 block of Gales Street, N.E. told police she left for work about 6:45 p.m. on Sunday and returned home at 7:45 a.m. Monday, when she discovered the damaged flag.

“Victim 1 stated that unknown suspects(s) burned the LGBT flag that was hanging on the house then ripped the flag and the pole off the house and trashed it,” the report says.

It says the responding officers notified a Fifth District detective and a member of the department’s LGBT Liaison Unit, Officer Joe Morquecho. The report lists the incident as an offense of destruction of property less than $1,000 in value and classifies it as a “sexual orientation/anti-gay” hate crime.

NBC4 News, which was the first to report the incident, said the woman responded to what happened by flying the burned flag one story higher and placing a sign in her window that stated, “To whoever tore down and burned my gay Pride flag: I hung it up higher and prouder than before. It was a little low.”

NBC4 correspondent Jackie Bensen reported the rainbow flag burning was one of at least three hate-related incidents in the D.C. area over the past weekend that may have been triggered by the outbreak of violence in Charlottesville, Va., attributed to white supremacist and Neo-Nazi groups that assembled to protest the removal of a confederate statute

According to NBC4, on Sunday afternoon witnesses said a man with Swastika tattoos on his torso used “a vile racial epithet” to an African-American lifeguard at an indoor neighborhood swimming poll on Capitol Hill next to the Eastern Market.

The other incident, NBC4 reports, took place in Montgomery County, Md., on Rollins Avenue near East Jefferson Street. Police said a man who overheard a husband and wife speaking to each other in Arabic made anti-Muslim comments to the couple and assaulted the husband.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

  • Brian’s Ions

    Kudos to that Gales Street resident! Long ago, we treated a similar attack on our porch-planter size rainbow flag with a similar resolve. We made it much bigger and displayed it higher and prouder.

    Also, it’s great to see MPD’s LGBT Liaison Unit working hand-in-glove with neighborhood level (MPD police district) detectives– 5D in this case– to deter these kinds of dangerous anti-LGBTQ hate crimes. Using fire as a method was likely meant to threaten and terrorize all LGBTs in that neighborhood.

    Just when we thought we were safer, Donald Trump’s chronic racist, neo-Nazi and anti-LGBTQ dog whistles remind us that DC is as vulnerable to an invasion of hate perpetrators as Charlottesville. Given Trump’s double-down yesterday in New York, incidents like this one are likely to get worse before they get better.

    BTW, Officer Joe Morquecho has long-standing experience at MPD’s LGBTLU. I’m sure a number of Blade readers are familiar with Officer Joe’s diligence and his professional dedication to the craft of special liaison policing.

    So, kudos to Officer Joe, as well, and to all his fellow officers at the LGBTLU and the SLD. And of course, thanks to MPD’s 5D detectives.

    For more information about MPD’s LGBTLU and the SLD…
    https://mpdc.dc.gov/node/139172
    https://mpdc.dc.gov/sld

    MPD’s 5th District Contact information…
    https://mpdc.dc.gov/page/fifth-district-roster
    ——
    \It says the responding officers notified a Fifth District detective and a member of the department’s LGBT Liaison Unit, Officer Joe Morquecho. The report lists the incident as an offense of destruction of property less than $1,000 in value and classifies it as a “sexual orientation/anti-gay” hate crime.//

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