Whoever has been targeting LGBTQ Pride flags on Michigan Avenue near US-127 in Lansing struck again on Monday night.
But this time, police may have some help putting an end to the thefts and vandalism that have marred Pride Month for local residents: A video captured someone burning the large flag, eastside activist Ryan Kost said today.
Kost said charred portions remained of the flag, the sixth large one to be planted atop a Welcome to Lansing sign. Some of the 50 mini-Pride flags that had been planted in the flower bed around the sign were also burned.
Five other flags have been stolen from the same location, the last one on Sunday night. The site is in Lansing Township, but Kost has filed a criminal report with the Lansing Police over the incidents. Lansing Mayor Andy Schor said the LPD will do what it can to assist in identifying the individual responsible.
“I am beside myself,” said Kost, a candidate for the 1st Ward seat on the Lansing City Council in the Aug. 2 primary election. “The level of hate demonstrated by setting it on fire is incomprehensible.”
Nancy Mahlow, a longtime Eastside neighborhood leader, said she was “horrified” by the escalation.
The alleged arson drew outrage from Schor and openly gay At-Large Councilmember Peter Spadafore Tuesday morning.
“I am angry that someone would do this,” Schor said by email. “This is not who we are as a community.”
“Lansing doesn’t tolerate hate, and I hope this person is identified quickly,” Schor said.
Said Spadafore, “I find it appalling and disgusting that someone would result to using this sort of tactic to intimidate. I hope we are doing everything we can to find this perpetrator of hate.”
Meanwhile, Kost and others have already replaced the burned flag with a new one they hope will outlast Pride Month, which ends Thursday.