Memphis Police arrested 23-year-old Ross Burton early Wednesday morning after he attempted to burn the gay pride flag at the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center (MGLCC) at 892 S. Cooper.
Plainclothes officers observed Burton and another man — who fled the scene and remains at large — attempting to set fire to the rope that runs up the flag pole in front of the MGLCC. When police officers approached the men, an altercation ensued, and one suspect attempted to disarm an officer. Additional police were dispatched and some reportedly received lacerations and abrasions from the struggle. The suspects fled, but Burton was located and arrested.
Burton is being charged with aggravated assault and vandalism under $500.
This event marks the second act of vandalism against the MGLCC in two months. In September, an MGLCC National Coming Out Day billboard at Poplar and High was destroyed. No word on whether the two crimes were related.
Said MGLCC director Will Batts: "Public incidents such as this shed light on the larger issue of intolerance and hatred that our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens face every day. Once again, attempts to silence or frighten our community will not succeed, but will make us more determined to fight for equality. We appreciate the support of the community in this struggle."