The Torrance City Council is formally recognizing a growing concern about people being caught on camera removing rainbow flags, symbols to celebrate Pride Month and the LGBTQ+ community, from local businesses and streets.
The city council made a proclamation to protect several businesses in downtown Torrance owned by LGBTQ+ identifying people and allies who have made it their mission to promote inclusivity and a welcoming space.
A video that went viral online shows one person methodically removing a Pride decoration from a tree outside a shop and leaving with it.
At least three people have been caught on camera outside different businesses ripping or cutting down Pride decorations, according to Sgt. Mark Ponegalek, a spokesperson for the Torrance Police Department.
Tiffany Garcia, owner of the Black Raven Tattoo Gallery, along with a handful of other business owners in the area, organized the decorated tree display outside their businesses to celebrate Pride month.
"I bought a ton of decorations and I blew up the inside of the tattoo shop with pride," said Garcia. "And then we thought, let's do the streets. Every other town does the streets."
But on at least five occasions, Garcia said the decorations were taken down by thieves and had to be replaced. By June 1, nearly every decoration was gone, according to Garcia.
The incidents are under investigation for property theft and vandalism. The police department is working to identify the suspects in the videos.
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