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You can get away with just about anything in New York City, but don’t you dare disrespect the rainbow flag.
A homeless man has been charged with multiple hate crimes for defecating on one LGBTQ+ pride flag and wiping his backside with another.
Fred Innocent, 45, walked into Buceo 95, a tapas bar in Manhattan, and grabbed two rainbow flags from a table. He relieved himself on one and wiped himself with the other.
NYPD Crime Stoppers posted this tweet before eventually arresting the man.
Buceo 95 owner Courtney Barroll told the New York Daily News she hangs the pride flag in her restaurant to show she welcomes the gay community.
“This was a total hate crime,” Barroll said. “He could have gone to Popeyes or McDonald’s around the corner. He could have used napkins.”
Innocent allegedly carried out the act beneath surveillance cameras in the dining shed. And Barroll said detectives worked tirelessly to track down the homeless man.
“I want to thank the NYPD detectives for catching him,” she said. “They worked so hard on this.”
If only NYC worked so diligently to track down and imprison violent and career criminals instead of their current catch-and-release policy.
Investigators traced Innocent to a shelter in Harlem. He faces charges of burglary, harassment and trespassing — all as hate crimes. For good measure, they also hit him with additional non-hate-crime trespassing and burglary.
Innocent is currently awaiting arraignment.
“If I’m asked to go to court, I’m going to press for the maximum charge possible,” Barroll said.
After the incident, she vowed to her staff she’d add even more flags to the restaurant.
“I said, ‘Don’t worry, because for the two flags that he has taken from us, I will put 50 more up,'” Barroll said. “And I’ll wallpaper the whole restaurant with them.”
Disrespecting the pride flag is a no-no in New York.
According to New York State, a hate crime happens when a victim is targeted “because of a perception or belief about their race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation.”
These crimes can target an individual, a group of individuals or property.
Burning or desecrating an American flag, however, is protected speech and not a crime. That’s according to the Supreme Court.
So if Fred Innocent had only taken a dump on Old Glory, that would have been just fine.
3 CommentsLeave a Reply
He should have just used some Pride flag toilet paper…though possessing that is probably a felony in NYC too.
If burning the stars and stripes is protected as a first amendment right, shittin’ on a rainbow flag should be, also.
They offered a reward of $3500 for this? The damages must have been $20 total.
It would be nice if some lawyer took this to the Supreme Court pro bono so that they could slap down this nonsense.