For the second time in a little over a month, a rainbow flag was burned outside a black-owned LGBTI bar in New York City.
The Alibi Lounge in Harlem touts itself as the only black-owned gay lounge in the city.
Hours before the start of Pride month, the Alibi Lounge revealed the rainbow flags hanging outside the bar were set aflame. Surveillance footage caught a man burning the flags, but authorities have yet to find him.
Following this incident, a patron anonymously donated two new rainbow flags to the bar.
A week after New York City celebrated World Pride, one of the bar’s new rainbow flags was burned again. It was left outside the establishment burnt and tattered.
A patron saw the flag on fire and alerted a bartender. The bartender put out the flames and also found a cigarette butt near the other flag.
A ‘calculated’ attack on the bar
‘After the success of Pride this year, someone decides that we’re going to burn the symbol of Pride,’ Alexi Minko, owner of the Alibi Lounge, told CBS2.
‘Twice in five weeks. It is a hate crime.’
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) launched a task force to investigate what happened as a hate crime.
Minko described what happened as ‘calculated’ because it occurred when the NYPD wasn’t present. He added the NYPD has a ‘steady presence’ in the neighborhood.
‘We need to keep our heads high and make sure that we take all the appropriate measures to stay safe,’ he concluded.
Minko also said there are no plans to stop displaying the flags and the community’s pride.