BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A couple is searching for answers tonight after someone burned their pride flag. Alexandra and Dave Palmer tell News 4 police are calling this a “hate crime.” Someone took the pride flag on their lawn, lit it on fire and then came back to leave a hateful-anonymous message.
The Palmers’ woke up to a big surprise on their front lawn Monday morning. Alexandra Palmer said, “It was my American flag with rainbow stripes for gay pride and someone had burned it with a hate note on it, and held it down by rocks.”
The note was written with religious undertones and a warning, “this will happen again.” Palmer said, “For someone to be so angry to come on to our property and burn it and put such a hateful note on it, it was hard to wrap my head around.”
Alexandra says she started crying, and didn’t know what to do. She then called the police and now an investigation is underway. Dan Palmer said, “My first thought is, “I’m not going to let hate win. I bought a new flag immediately. It should be in, in a few days and it should be back up on the house.” The Palmers’ say everyone has a right to their own opinion, and free speech, but say this crosses a line. “I wasn’t really surprised though, because I know they’re out there. Everytime I hang that flag I think there’s one person on this block who is watching me and stewing in anger and good for them,” Palmer said.
Matthew Crehan Higgins from the Pride Center of Western New York says the LGBTQ community has seen tremendous strides. But this is a reminder that hate is still out there.
He said, “We have seen tremendous strides in the past few years, and especially in the past few weeks with the supreme court ruling. Something that we are always aware of, is that the majority of Americans support the community, but there are people who don’t support the community and want to send a message to people who demonstrate their support.”
Neighbors we spoke with say they will support the Palmers’ by joining them in putting pride flags on their lawns as well. Buffalo Police are currently investigating who could be responsible for this crime, which is a misdemeanor. They have told the Palmers’ they have a few leads already.