Police investigating alleged theft and burning of pride flag as a possible hate crime

Kaysville police said a homeowner reported a derogatory note was left behind.

Kaysville police said Thursday that they are investigating a possible hate crime after an LGBTQ pride flag was allegedly stolen and burned.

Police officers received a call around 5 a.m. on Thursday stating a flag was taken from a homeowner’s yard and burned, according to a news release. Whoever took the flag apparently left behind a “derogatory note.”

The state reported a total of eight hate crimes against LGBTQ people in 2019, the most recent year for which data has been released. Most of these crimes were instances of larceny, vandalism or intimidation. There was one report of an assault against a gay man.

If the Kaysville theft is determined to be a hate crime, it could be prosecuted under the state’s newly strengthened hate crime law, which was beefed up by a bill in 2019. The state’s hate crime law had previously been criticized for being too weak.

Troy Williams, executive director of Equality Utah said in a statement to the Salt Lake Tribune that the organization is grateful to the legislature for passing an LGBTQ inclusive hate crime law in 2019. He said the act of vandalism is “a fearful attempt to intimidate our community back into the closet.”

“This one cruel act does not overshadow the thousands of allies across our state who are joyfully flying our colors this month,” he said. “Your love transcends one bully’s fear. Our community is here to stay, loud and proud. Happy Pride!”

The victim in the Kaysville crime has requested that the public and media respect their privacy, according to the news release. The police department is asking anyone with information about the alleged crime to contact the detective on the case at 801-497-7082, or to email jnicholas@kaysvillecity.com.