For three to four years, two Pride flags have bookended Bruce Hampson’s front gate. This year, all that changed.
“Somebody obviously climbed up and broke it off,” Hampson told CHEK News.
He says that starting in March, vandals have burned, broken, or stolen the flags on three separate occasions.
“This is really one of three incidents of what police determine to be hate crimes,” said Hampson.
The first incident in March was perhaps the most concerning. Hampson found the flags burnt and discarded next to his house.
The flags have also been stolen, as recently as Sunday.
“It definitely concerns me that the time period is getting shorter between the incidents,” said Hampson.
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Hampson is unsure if the events are related but wants them to stop. He’s notified Victoria police, who told CHEK News the incidents are worrying.
“It is something we would take seriously,” said Griffen Hohl, VicPD spokesperson.
Esquimalt’s mayor agrees.
“There’s no room for hate in Esquimalt or anything like that to occur anywhere,” said Mayor Barbara Desjardins.
“In Esquimalt, we take pride in our sense of community, our inclusiveness. The heart of our community is sharing and caring for one another, and this is detracting from that.”
Hampson says regardless of the threat these incidents pose, he and his partner are intent on showing their acceptance and support.
“It’s a bit concerning. But does the threat and the fear of the threat outweigh the need for expression and opportunity? No,” said Hampson.
“We’ll be replacing the flags as soon as we can.”