The flag found outside the Alibi Lounge. (Twitter)
A rainbow flag has been found set on fire outside the Alibi Lounge, a gay bar in New York, for the second time in just over a month.
The Pride flag was burned on the street in the early hours of Monday (July 8) and found by staff members.
Alibi Lounge’s owner, Alexi Minko, said the flag was found between 12.20am and 12.45am, according to the Daily Mail.
The bar’s rainbow flags were previously deliberately set on fire on May 31, with police at that time investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.
After that incident, an anonymous person donated two new rainbow flags to the Alibi Lounge.
“I have to say that what I find odd was the timing of both events,” Minko told NBC. “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.”
“Second time around, I’m really kind of in shock, I have to admit,” Minko said.
Flag burning investigated as hate crime
New York governor Andrew Cuomo has said he will assign a task force to investigate.
Minko told CBS that to have rainbow flags burned outside the gay bar twice in five weeks “is a hate crime.”
“After the success of Pride this year, someone decides that we’re going to burn the symbol of Pride,” Minko said.
“We need to keep our heads high and make sure that we take all the appropriate measures to stay safe,” Minko added.
Local residents said that “the rest of the community doesn’t feel this way” and that they hoped the Alibi Lounge remained open.
WANTED!! For ANTI-LGBTQ Criminal Mischief (burning a PRIDE flag) at 2376 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. @lounge_alibi Call 800-577-TIPS with any information. @NYPDDetectives @NYPDPBMN @NYPDTips @NYPD32Pct pic.twitter.com/LQpbh9lfB4
— NYPD Hate Crimes (@NYPDHateCrimes) July 8, 2019
The Alibi Lounge, in Harlem, is reportedly the only black-owned LGBT+ lounge in New York.
No one was injured in either incident, and police said no suspects have yet been identified.