Statement from Boise Police Chief Ron Winegar following additional theft and destruction of Pride flags Saturday night

June 23, 2024

"The actions taken by suspects on Harrison Blvd this month and in the month of June over the past several years are unfortunate and completely unacceptable. We have taken multiple reports of theft and destruction of Pride flags along the center of Harrison Blvd. as well as on nearby private properties. Whether the motivation of those responsible is to spread hate or cause destruction in our community, it cannot be tolerated.  This type of crime is very frustrating to me, not only because it is senseless and damaging to our community, but because it reflects so poorly on Boise.  I now speak directly to those who are responsible for the crimes that have been committed, and to anyone who may think this kind of activity is acceptable:

This is never okay! What a miserable way to express yourself and your views, destroying and stealing the property of another.  If you disagree with someone or something, you can find a productive way to express your feelings and opinions. And while you may argue that taking or destroying Pride flags is "political speech" or some expression of your opposition to those who belong to the LGBTQ+ community, it is not--it is hatred on display, and a crime, plain and simple!  If you have ever been the victim of theft or vandalism you understand how it impacts your sense of safety and security. If you believe it is appropriate to do this, think about how you would feel if someone took your personal property or destroyed it, based on your identity, choices, or lifestyle. While these flags are displayed with the support of the City of Boise, they are personal property paid for by private funds. Our department is still processing and investigating this most recent act of theft and vandalism, but the loss estimate from last week’s incident was over $1,000, which could make this crime a felony. The Boise Police Department will spend the resources necessary to identify and apprehend those responsible for the crimes that have already occurred, and we will be on guard to prevent this from continuing. We will seek to uphold the law and hold these offenders accountable. When the culprits are identified in these crimes, they will face the legal consequences of their actions.

This is your warning:  Do not engage in this type of criminal activity or you will be caught and prosecuted!  It is not right, and it is never acceptable to act in this manner.  As a community, we face significant challenges each day and our officers are busy responding to important calls for service to ensure your safety. Do not add to their workload with more of this despicable and selfish behavior!"

Contact: Boise Police Media Relations

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