LGBTQ Pride Month flags vandalized near Stonewall National Monument, police say

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Flags dedicated to celebrating LGBTQ Pride Month were vandalized this week in New York City, according to the city’s police department.

The colorful flags near the Stonewall National Monument, located in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village neighborhood and dedicated to a turning point in the modern LGBTQ civil rights movement, were removed and damaged sometime on Thursday night, the New York City Police Department said in a statement to CNN.

Authorities received a report early Friday, shortly before 8 a.m. ET about flags missing from the park where the monument is located.

A preliminary investigation found an unidentified person had removed and destroyed 160 flags in the area around 8 p.m. Thursday, according to police.

“The individual then fled the location to parts unknown,” the statement said.

There were no injuries reported and authorities have not made any arrests. The investigation is ongoing, the police department said Friday evening.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams commented on the vandalism in a post on X, formerly Twitter, writing: “Hate has no place in our city, and nothing will change that.”

Adams on Thursday celebrated June’s LGBTQ Pride Month at a gathering at his residence at Gracie Mansion Conservancy.

“We love the LGBTQ+ community and celebrate them during Pride and all year round,” the mayor wrote on X. “We’ll always have your back, and we will bring whoever defaced the Stonewall monument to justice.”

The mayor’s office is working closely with the NYPD to identify the person responsible for the vandalism, which Adams referred to as a “heinous act” in a statement to CNN.

New York Attorney General Letitia James called the vandalism “disgusting” in response to New York City Council member Erik Bottcher sharing images of the damaged and broken flags in an X post.

Bottcher’s post showed a pile of LGBTQ flags on the ground near the Stonewall monument and Christopher Park.

“Anyone who thinks this will intimidate our community is badly mistaken,” Bottcher wrote.

In 2016, President Barack Obama designated the Stonewall National Monument area, which includes Christopher Park the historic Stonewall Inn, as the first US national monument to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.

The area was the site of the 1969 Stonewall uprising and protests often cited as a flashpoint for LGBTQ rights in the US.

A June 1969 police raid of the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar, prompted patrons to fight back and eventually led to the first gay and lesbian rights march.

Last June, the NYPD said its Hate Crime Task Force investigated at least three incidents during Pride Month during which the Stonewall National Monument’s flags were damaged or removed, CNN previously reported.

CNN’s Meron Moges-Gerbi and Nicole Chavez contributed to this report.

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