Crime

Police investigating fliers targeting gay pride flags left at downtown businesses

Police in Olympia are investigating after fliers were left at local businesses telling them to take down their gay pride flags.

Jesse Floch is one of the owners at Gatsby Parlour de Beauté, where a large pride flag hangs in the window display along Washington Street Southeast. Earlier this week, someone left a typed flier on the salon’s door that read “You are in violation of natural laws of decency” and asked the business to remove the flag.

Early Thursday morning, someone broke a window next to the flag, which Floch thinks is related.

“This is Olympia. Like, this is a safe place, this is supposed to be our safe town where a lot of people that I consider refugees from other states (come),” Floch said. “It broke my heart to see something like that.”

Police know of two others businesses that got fliers, including Dillinger’s Cocktails and Kitchen next door, though no other vandalism has been reported, said Lt. Paul Lower.

On Friday, walking patrol officers were checking with other businesses to see if they had seen similar fliers or had security cameras that may have recorded whoever left them.

Lower said the fliers could amount to a hate crime.

“A lot depends on the victim and the intent of the suspect,” Lower said, adding police are investigating whether the window breaking was related.

Floch said the salon has no plans to remove the pride flag.

“No, oh no. We’re getting bigger ones,” Floch said Friday.

Anyone with information is asked to call Olympia Police Department at 360-753-8300.

Abby Spegman joined The Olympian in 2017. She covers the city of Olympia and a little bit of everything else. She previously worked at newspapers in Oregon, New Hampshire and Hawaii.
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