PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Officials are investigating a bias crime after Newberg residents reported their rainbow American flag was burned.
Authorities said on Monday morning, they received a report that a Pride flag was set on fire in front of a family’s home. The flag was on a pole that was attached to the home when it was torched, according to the Newberg-Dundee Police Department.
The homeowner, who asked to remain anonymous for safety, shared surveillance video with KOIN 6 News which appeared to show a masked man setting fire to the flag then doing a Nazi salute.
Police said that the residents had a pride flag stolen previously.
Anyone with information on the incident is urged to call NDPD Detective Fouch at 503-538-8321.
KOIN 6 News spoke with Stephen Paolini of the Anti-Defamation League who says these kinds of acts are on the rise.
“Yesterday morning, early in the morning, we were made aware of an incident of what appears to be a neo-Nazi set on fire a Pride flag in front of somebody’s home in an apparent hate crime incident. We got several reports from community members say they feel unsafe, who feel this is a part of a broader trend in their community,” said Paolini. “From flyer distributions, flag demonstrations, and now an escalation…this is a very concerning trend in the Newberg area.”
This incident comes more than a month after a Yamhill County judge ruled the Newberg School District’s ban on political signage, including Black Lives Matter signs and LGBTQ+ Pride flags from its schools, unconstitutional.
The lawsuit was filed amid ongoing controversy between school board members regarding an LGBTQ+ Pride flag that was hung in the window of a Dundee Elementary School classroom.
Meanwhile, the Anti-Defamation League said nationally, they have recorded the highest-level of antisemitic incidents ever — noting the approaching midterm election is only making matters worse.
“As we get closer to elections, and conspiracy theories reach a fever pitch, we certainly see an increase in violence, and vandalism and harassment against…marginalized communities,” Paolini explained.
There have also been recent cases of people using antisemitic rhetoric, including Ye’s comments, which can embolden people.
The Anti-Defamation League points out that most people in the community don’t support these incidents and many are expressing concern. They also ask community members to report any hate crimes they see.