In light of the recent theft of the LGBTQ+ flag that was stolen from Lassen Family Services, we need to ensure that our local LGBTQ+ residents and youth feel safe in our community. It is a big step forward that our city council, has declared June to be Pride Month.
The Susanville Police Department has claimed that this is not a hate crime when the flags have flown undisturbed until the third flag, a LBGTQ+ flag was added. The flag vandalism happened less than two days after it was raised.
The law is quite clear when it comes to property damage in conjunction with hate crimes. Penal Code 422.6 states: “(b) No person, whether or not acting under color of law, shall knowingly deface, damage, or destroy the real or personal property of any other person for the purpose of intimidating or interfering with the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to the other person by the Constitution or laws of this state or by the Constitution or laws of the United States, in whole or in part because of one or more of the actual or perceived characteristics of the victim listed in subdivision (a) of Section 422.55.”
Susanville attempted to take a step forward in acceptance and freedom, but then was dragged back by hate mongers. SPD claims it was “kids.” Well, even “kids” need to know there are consequences for their actions.
We can do better than this, Susanville! We need to rally together and let SPD know that we are displeased with their dismissal of this blatant hate crime. We all value our freedoms, and we need to protect each other when our freedoms are impinged upon.