For the second time in just over a month, a Pride flag in front of a New York City gay bar has been set on fire.
Alibi Lounge owner Alexi Minko told the Associated Press that late Sunday night, early Monday morning just after midnight, someone alerted staff the rainbow flag at the entrance of the Harlem club had been set aflame and reduced to ashes.
Police are now investigating the incident as a possible hate crime, as they have also been doing with the previous arson case. They had been maintaining an increased presence around the establishment, but, according to WPIX, they were not there on Sunday night.
Cameras are trained on the entrance, and police released surveillance footage from the first incident, which led Minko to think it wouldn’t happen again.
“Second time around, I’m really kind of in shock, I have to admit,” he said.
“I have to say that what I find odd was the timing of both events. One was at the beginning of Pride and one was right at the end. One has to wonder if there’s a kind of message they’re trying to send.”
He told WPIX, though, that he doesn’t care what message they are trying to send, and that he thinks “what’s important is that we stand tall, we don’t get afraid.”
Additionally, Minko said a staff member had to remove the Pride flag from the entrance on July 4 because people on the street “were intentionally setting off firecrackers” at the door.
No injuries were reported in either case, and no suspects have been named or arrests made.