The flag of Nazi Germany was discovered Monday morning flying atop the flagpole of Washington Park’s band shell. The U.S. flag typically donning the pole was crumpled and shoved into a corner of the band shell.
Officers from the Laramie Police Department arrived shortly after 11 a.m. After briefly discussing the best course of action, Detective Ryan Gerdes and Officer Logan Warren folded — as best they could — the American flag according to traditional etiquette.
Warren then lowered the Nazi flag and restored the American flag as Gerdes saluted the Stars and Stripes. The Nazi flag was taken as evidence.
“Obviously this is awful,” Gerdes said. “I’m just glad we found the (American) flag.”
Lt. Gwen Smith, who’s worked for LPD for 26 years, said this is among the very few cases “in recent memory” that has an obvious “bias” component LPD is investigating.
“This is pretty unique for us, and I’m sure the officers are going to be investigating this pretty hard,” she said.
In 2017, two instances of graffiti were classified as “bias crimes.” No suspects were identified.
Until 2017, LPD had not classified a case as a bias crime in six years.
In Monday’s flag case, Smith said police will look for circumstantial evidence, like when the flag was first noticed or if any neighbors saw suspicious activity.
In February, flyers promoting a white nationalist group were removed from University of Wyoming bulletin boards. Flyers denying the Holocaust were also posted on UW boards in November.