Teenage boy arrested on suspicion of vandalizing Pride flag in Huntington Beach
A report of a ruined Pride flag in Huntington Beach resulted in the arrest of a teenage boy Saturday and is the first report of that symbol being vandalized in the city so far this year, according to police.
The owner of the rainbow-colored flag told police a boy had ripped it while trying to tear it from its post and used derogatory language toward the LGBTQ+ community at about 9 p.m. on June 3.
Officers responded to the area of 18th Street and Palm Avenue, Huntington Beach police spokeswoman Jessica Cuchilla said.
They found one 13-year-old suspect nearby among a group of other minors, Cuchilla said. A second youth was in possession of two additional Pride flags at the time and questioned by police.
It was not immediately clear where those other flags came from, and officers had not received reports of any stolen so far this year, Cuchilla said. Police were investigating to determine whether those items were related to a crime.
“We take all crimes seriously, including vandalism and theft, especially when it targets a specific community,” Cuchilla wrote in a statement Tuesday. “Such actions are completely unacceptable and will be thoroughly investigated.”
Earlier this year, the City Council voted 4-3 to stop flying the Pride flag at public buildings in the weeks surrounding June, celebrated nationally as Pride Month. Proponents of the move said it was done to keep Huntington Beach in compliance with laws barring the city from displaying nongovernmental flags.
But local supporters and members of the LGBTQ+ community said halting the practice has caused them to question whether they are still welcome in the city. About 100 activists gathered in May to unfurl a giant Pride flag from the end of Huntington Beach Pier.
On Tuesday, the Orange County Board of Supervisors also voted to stop displaying the rainbow-striped LGBTQ+ banner and other nongovernmental symbols.
Matt Szabo contributed to this report.
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