This may be the first hate crime investigated under new Charleston ordinance.
At least one person in South Carolina thought it was okay to vandalize a rainbow flag by yanking it down from a private residence and burning it.
Last Tuesday, the banner was found charred in the driveway of another home about five miles away. But the act only multiplied the number of flags in the area thanks to a local advocacy group.
The burned flag's owners are a straight couple who had been flying it outside their home for several months.
"There’s people on our street that have South Carolina flags, United States flags, different college flags, garden flags … obviously the rainbow is what attracted them to ours," the homeowner who wished to remain anonymous told NBC.
"‘I wouldn’t be surprised if the people who did this didn’t even know who we were or who lived in the home," the homeowner said. ‘It was just the fact that it was a rainbow flag, and they didn’t agree with that."
Police say they may investigate the crime under a new Charleston ordinance that passed last November which states it's a crime to intimidate someone, "in whole or in part because of the actual or perceived race, color, creed, religion, ancestry, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical or mental disability, or national origin.”
The above policy was put in place after the assault of a transgender girl in August 2018 and in a separate incident, bricks were thrown through an LGBT charity thrift store.
Alliance For Full Acceptance (AFFA) is a local Charleston advocacy group that once they got wind of the recent flag burning handed out about 50 smaller rainbow flags to residents.
“Whenever an incident like this happens, it can really kind of get into the psyche of the LGBTQ community just knowing that this sort of thing still exists and still happened,” says AFFA executive director Chase Glenn. “But to know the incident is being taken seriously by the police is very comforting.”
Police have not made an arrest, If they do and the suspect(s) is found guilty he or she could spend up to 30 days in jail and pay a fine of $500 under the new hate crime ordinance.