Nazi Flags Flying High in Wyoming
LARAMIE, WYOMING – August 7, 2018
Last Monday visitors of a public park in Laramie, Wyoming were very surprised seeing a Nazi flag raised on a flagpole.
The US flag that usually flies from the pole lay crumpled on the ground when police arrived on the scene Monday morning, according to Lieutenant Gwen Smith of the Laramie Police Department.
Shortly after police were notified of the incident, officers promptly removed the Nazi flag, which bore the swastika symbol. Upon retrieving the discarded American flag, the officers folded it properly and one saluted the flag as the other returned it to its rightful place atop the flagpole, Smith said.
According to Smith, there is currently no evidence of a crime because the American flag was not damaged or stolen, and no damage was done to the flagpole.
However, tampering with park facilities in Laramie is an offense punishable with a fine of up to $750.00, regardless of the motive. LMC, § 12.52.020, .050. And, if this offense was motivated by anti-Semitism, for instance, then it should be investigated as such and reported in the City's annual bias crime report, as required by Laramie's Bias Crime Ordinance.
Officers spoke with the person who alerted them to the incident, but the individual did not see who raised the Nazi flag and couldn't recall any suspicious people in the area, Smith said. For now, the Nazi flag has been submitted into evidence, CNN reports.
The flag in Wyoming is the second major Nazi symbol to appear in the US recently.
Late July Nazi images, including a swastika, were found painted on a structure belonging to a Jewish synagogue in Indiana, according to CNN. The swastika and two iron crosses were on a brick wall that goes around a dumpster at the Congregation Shaarey Tefilla in Carmel, just north of Indianapolis.
The synagogue has not been attacked before and has not received threats or harassing calls, said Lindsay Shipps, the temple's media representative.
And in February, fliers containing white supremacist and neo-Nazi content were found at the University of Wyoming campus in Laramie, KGWN reported.
Laramie typically experiences a "very low" number of bias-motivated crimes, Smith said. There were two in 2017 and there had not been any in the six years before, according to Smith.
Laramie's mayor, Andrea Summerville, told CNN she "vigorously and strongly condemns" the appearance of the Nazi flag.
"The City of Laramie will remain watchful for and vigilant against any other use of hateful Nazi symbols or propaganda," Summerville said. "Our community has been touched by hate before and we will not stand for it again."
"We are a stronger community when we are diverse, open and inclusive," Summerville added. "It is imperative that every community member feels safe and welcome."
Still, police are investigating the incident.