On May 31, a man approached the Kelowna Art Gallery in British Columbia and tore down a trans pride flag that was hanging from its facade alongside a LGBT pride flag.
The incident was caught by the gallery’s video surveillance. Last week, the local police department shared images of the man with the press in the hopes of apprehending him. Soon after, he was found, according to a story by Kelowna Now.
The Kelowna Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) told local reporters that the investigation is ongoing and that they would not release the man’s identity.
According to the police, the man was heard saying he was going to “throw [the flag] in the garbage.” He attempted to rip down the gay pride flag as well but couldn’t jump high enough to tear it down.
“We will be investigating the mischief itself as well as the motivation behind it, keeping in mind that any crime motivated by hate, prejudice or bias can be considered an aggravating factor at sentencing,” the RCMP told Kelowna Now.
“The pride flag and trans flags are symbols of happiness and hope, which we believe in. We are advocates for freedom of expression. We will stand up and call out intolerance, which we have done by reporting this matter to the RCMP,” a spokesperson for the Kelowna Art Gallery wrote to ARTnews.
The incident recalls a similar one that took place at London’s Young V&A museum, in which senior management made the decision to pull educational books about queer life and puberty from its bookshop and a trans-affirming poster from an exhibition. Staff at the museum attempted to get the materials reinstated but have thus far not been able to convince senior management to do so.