Man arrested for vandalizing Rainbow Flags near Stonewall

Different Rainbow Flags line the fence at Christopher Park.
Different Rainbow Flags line the fence at Christopher Park.
Donna Aceto

A man was arrested on Aug. 28 for his alleged role in a pattern of vandalism targeting Rainbow Flags near the Stonewall Inn during Pride Month, though authorities are still searching for more suspects who they say also defaced the flags later that same month.

Patrick Murphy, a 25-year-old man who resides in Denver, Colorado, was arrested and charged with criminal mischief as well as criminal mischief as a hate crime, according to the NYPD. Murphy was allegedly part of a group of three people who were walking past the Stonewall National Monument at 3 a.m. on June 10 when they started breaking multiple Rainbow Flags along the fence before fleeing east on Waverly Place, according to police. 

Authorities are still investigating a pair of other similar incidents, one on June 15 and the other on June 18. 

On June 15 — again just minutes after 3 a.m. — an individual approached the Stonewall National Monument, removed and broke Transgender Flags on the fence, and took off. 

The final incident happened at around 8 a.m. on June 18 when multiple Rainbow Flags on display at the Stonewall National Monument were removed.

Instances of anti-LGBTQ hate have been seen across the city throughout the summer — including in July when out gay dancer O’Shae Sibley was stabbed to death at a gas station in a case that drew national attention. 

Among other cases, an individual allegedly hurled anti-LGBTQ remarks and attacked a woman jogging in Hudson River Park on Aug. 21, while a 21-year-old man was slashed in Brooklyn in an anti-LGBTQ attack on Aug. 1.

In July, a TV screen outside of the Tribeca-based Flea Theater was smashed by a man who allegedly complained about LGBTQ content that was on display there, according to the theater. That same month, two men allegedly stole a man’s wallet, $200 in case, and a credit card while voicing anti-LGBTQ slurs in an attack in Harlem on July 16.

Rainbow Flags have been targeted elsewhere, as well, including in Cedar Glen, California, where Laura “Lauri” Ann Carleton was fatally shot on Aug. 18 by an individual who took issue with the Rainbow Flag on display outside of her shop.