The Salt Lake City Police Department is asking for help identifying the person or people responsible for burning multiple Pride flags.
The investigation began at 8:02 a.m. on Monday, July 3, when officers responded to a home near 850 S. Washington Street (about 250 West) after the homeowner reported their Pride flag had been cut down and burned.
Officers learned that at least four other Pride flags in the area were vandalized. The vandalism is reported to have happened between 1 and 1:30 a.m.
Police are asking anyone living in the area to check home surveillance or doorbell cameras to see if they captured the suspect.
Anyone with information about the situation – and who has not yet already talked with an officer – should call 801-799-3000.
“The Salt Lake City Police Department recognizes our responsibility to investigate hate crimes thoroughly and impartially to hold offenders accountable and ensure justice for survivors,” the department wrote in a statement. “The Salt Lake City Police Department educates its officers and works with our community to recognize, and condemn, hate crimes and works to prevent them from occurring in the future. The effects of a hate crime can be devastating and long-lasting for both the individual victim and the larger community.”
Homeowner Paul Johnson posted on his Facebook page about the incident.
“[I] started today with a very heavy heart and tears in my eyes as I found out my neighborhood and my home were targeted in a hate attack early this morning. Someone came down my street and cut down at least 5 Pride flags, including mine, before setting them on fire,” he wrote. “Whoever did this is a coward, and I’m just sad for them.”
“Within 12 hours of this incident, some kind, anonymous person left a new flag with a note of love. It’s been a hard day, but I will sleep well tonight with my new Pride flag flying, in addition to keeping the remains of the damaged one,” he continued. “We will not be cowered by hatred and intolerance. It’s un-American and will never be welcome in Salt Lake City.”
If you are the survivor of a hate crime or witness a hate crime, SLCPD says it is important to report it to the appropriate authorities so the case can be investigated, and support and resources offered.
• Call 9-1-1: If the crime is in-progress or there is an immediate threat to the safety of yourself or others.
• File a police report by calling 801-799-3000 and asking to speak with an officer about filing a hate crime report.
• Request assistance from an SLCPD Victim Advocate. You can call 801-799-3000 and ask to speak with a victim advocate or call 801-580-7969 24/7.