Two more suspects arrested for vandalizing Rainbow Flags near Stonewall

A collection of Rainbow Flags blow in the wind at Christopher Park.
A collection of Rainbow Flags blow in the wind at Christopher Park.
Matt Tracy

Two additional suspects were busted for their alleged role in a series of attacks on Rainbow Flags near the Stonewall Inn during the height of Pride Month earlier this year.

Jackson Randall, 25, and Charles Hyder, 26, were both arrested on Sept. 13 and charged with criminal mischief and criminal mischief as a hate crime for allegedly damaging the Pride Flags at the Stonewall National Monument in Christopher Park shortly after 3 a.m. on June 10, according to police. Randall lives in Boston and Hyder lives in Manhattan.

Randall and Hyder were allegedly part of a group of three people who broke multiple Pride Flags perched on the fence along the perimeter of the park before fleeing southbound on Waverly Place.

The arrests come just weeks after Patrick Murphy, a 25-year-old man who lives in Denver, was slapped with identical charges for the same incident.

The June 10 incident represented just one of multiple attacks on Rainbow Flags at the Stonewall National Monument during Pride Month. Authorities are still investigating incidents stemming from June 15 and June 18. During the June 15 incident, which also allegedly occurred just minutes after 3 a.m., an individual removed Transgender Flags from the fence, broke them, and took off, according to police. Shortly after 8 a.m. on June 18, an individual or multiple people removed Rainbow Flags on display at the Stonewall National Monument.

The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force is continuing to investigate what they say is a “criminal mischief pattern.” It is not the first such pattern in recent years; in 2019 an individual was arrested for torching Rainbow Flags twice in just over a month at Alibi Lounge in Manhattan.

The recent string of attacks coincided with several other anti-LGBTQ incidents across the city this year — most notably the fatal stabbing of O’Shae Sibley, who was killed in an alleged homophobic attack outside of a gas station in Brooklyn. The city has witnessed other attacks on Rainbow Flags this year, as well, including when an individual set a flag on fire at the Little Prince restaurant in Manhattan. In that case, a suspect was arrested and charged but avoided jail time after she was placed in the custody of the State Health Department due to an unspecified mental illness.