Man urinating on home’s pride flag investigated as hate crime

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Columbus police are investigating a hate crime after a man was caught on a home surveillance camera allegedly urinating on a pride flag.

The incident happened on the night of Feb. 8 and posted online on Sunday.

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In the video, a man can be seen walking up the porch of a home in the Weinland Park area near the Ohio State University campus. Meanwhile, a second man stays at the bottom of the porch stairs, recording the incident on a cell phone.

The man on the porch then exposes himself and begins urinating on the pride flag, saying, “F*** the gays, f*** the gays,” while holding up a middle finger. The man then bangs twice on the house’s doors before the two men run from the scene.

After the video was posted, one of the victims said Columbus police contacted them.

“It was less than two hours, less than two hours because it exploded a little bit on Reddit,” Zoe, one of the home’s residents, said. “Our major goal was just to have a record that something happened; it was less about pursuing, like, some sort of justice for the situation as it were because it’s not exactly like it can be undone.”

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The family said that the incident was shocking but not surprising.

“I’ve only known this place to be welcoming to queer people,” resident Sarah said. “Of course, there’s always going to be jerks everywhere, but like, in the past few years and especially the past year, it’s accelerated, the atmosphere of just, you know, nonacceptance.”

Raven, one of the victims who lives in the Summit Street home, said they are concerned more people are feeling empowered to commit acts of hate.

“We’re just neighbors, we’re just people,” Raven said. “We just want to live our lives, love who we love and, you know, we’d love if you could be good neighbors, too, you know?”

“It’s concerning that bigots like this are feeling more empowered, but it makes me feel more determined to have our flag up and be, you know, out there and proud of who we are,” Cassandra, who lives in the home, said.

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A Columbus police spokesman said the incident is being investigated as a hate crime.

A spokesperson for LGBTQ+ advocacy group Stonewall Columbus said that while they are not familiar with the specifics of the incident, there is no place in Columbus for such acts.

“As a Columbus resident, I am disheartened to see people have such blatant disrespect for the property of others and as a community organization, we do hope that the individuals in question are swiftly caught and subject to whatever legal recourse there may be,” Stonewall Columbus Executive Director Densil Porteous said in a statement. “We must work to ensure residents and visitors understand that our city is a welcoming and safe place and such acts are not welcome here.”

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