SLC police investigate Pride flag vandalism, burning as possible hate crime

Jul 3, 2023, 10:05 PM | Updated: 10:40 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Neighbors said a handful of Pride flags were cut down, vandalized and even burned early Monday as police said they were investigating the matter as a possible hate crime.

Homeowners said the flags were taken from a row of houses near 800 S. Washington Street before 1 a.m.

“It’s disheartening and it’s unsettling to see something like this happen in an area that is a very welcoming and inclusive neighborhood,” said Joseph Leyba, whose flag was burned. “This is an uncomfortable situation for all those that are affected in this area and those that will be affected by this story.”

Multiple Pride flags burned and vandalized in Salt Lake City, police say

Doorbell camera footage supplied to KSL by another neighbor showed someone wearing a hat, hoodie and camouflaged pants cutting down one of the flags at approximately 12:40 a.m.

“This person not only went onto people’s property and cut down these Pride flags, but then went one step further and burned the Pride flags,” said Salt Lake City Police spokesman Brent Weisberg. “The fact that this happened even once is concerning to us and we want to do everything we can to identify the person responsible and hold that person accountable.”

Weisberg said detectives were investigating the case as a potential hate crime, and they were working to identify the person responsible and also figure out how that person arrived and left.

He urged those in the area with doorbell or surveillance cameras to review their footage from early Monday to see if the footage revealed anything useful to investigators.

Anyone with information was asked to contact Salt Lake City Police Department at 801-799-3000. Police also noted that anyone who was targeted in an alleged hate crime could also request assistance from victim advocate at 801-580-7969.

(Salt Lake City Police Department) (Salt Lake City Police Department) (Salt Lake City Police Department) (Salt Lake City Police Department)

“The fact that this person is clearly motivated by some sort of hate is concerning to us,” Weisberg said. “We want people to know that we’re not going to tolerate it and our community rejects this type of hate.”

Leyba said neighbors appreciated the support of some complete strangers and Salt Lake City’s mayor after the flags were cut down.

“A woman stopped by,” Leyba said. “She put new Pride flags on all of the homes that had theirs damaged.”

He hoped police could ultimately crack the case and find whoever was responsible.

“It felt like a very targeted, intentional decision,” Leyba said. “It’s unsettling that it would happen here.”

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SLC police investigate Pride flag vandalism, burning as possible hate crime