‘Cut up and thrown into the street’: Pride flags vandalized in Burien

BURIEN, Wash. — About 80 pride flags in Burien were stolen or damaged over the weekend after thieves targeted a street in Olde Burien.

“Around 2:30 a.m. about 80 of those pride flags were taken down, not just taken down but cut up and thrown into the street,” Kim Davis, who is on the Pride Committee for Discover Burien, said.

Surveillance video from a business on the street caught the thieves in the act.

“They pulled this flag down, this one they threw on ground, then they grabbed the flag across the street and they took that one and about 20 minutes later someone else followed him,” the business owner who provided the footage said. He did not want to be identified.

Community members reacted with shock and disappointment.

“It’s hard to see something like that happen in a place that tends to embrace everybody,” Nate Watters, who lives in the area, said.

On June 14, the King County Sheriff’s Office issued the following update, in part:

“During the weekend, two subjects forcibly removed the flags from the poles and either stole the flags or cut and sliced flags with a knife, essentially shredding the flags. The suspect(s) appeared to be white male adults. The height and weight appeared similar, and it is possible it was the same person but with a change of clothing,” a news release said.

“The flags were targeted, and it clearly represented an attempt to target the LGBTQ community along with an attempt to intimidate and harass the LGBTQ community,” the KCSO said.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time Burien has dealt with vandals targeting pride flags.

“Unfortunately, Burien has had their pride flags stolen almost every year and we don’t let that stop us we put up more flags and do flag sponsorships because we know we’re going to have to replace them,” Davis said.

Despite this hateful act, Davis says this only reinforces their resilience and drive to continue to celebrate pride.

“We’re going to celebrate it every day because we fought too hard to get here and we’re not going to go back in the closet,” Davis said.

If you have any information or know who the thieves are, contact the Burien Police Department.

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