Police in Eureka in Northern California are investigating a suspected hate crime, after a gay couple in the area woke up last Wednesday, December 16, to find Christmas decorations in their front yard, torn down, covered in human faeces and laid to rest under the couple’s pride flag.

Brian Kleinmeyer and his boyfriend, Daniel Kain said this is not the first time they have had their Christmas decorations vandalised, with Kleinmeyer saying that two weeks ago someone “broke a Santa sleigh in half and tangled up a bunch of my Christmas lights.”

Kleinmeyer wrote about the most recent incident in a Facebook post: “Last night, somebody came to our home on Myrtle, and wiped faeces all over our Gingerbread Men. They literally ripped them out of the ground, and wiped their asses with them, and carefully laid them at the base of our Pride flag.”

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 “Something about two Gingerbread Men holding hands just pushed them over the edge, I guess.”

Despite the incident having taken the couple by surprise, they said that they felt compelled to speak up about it, “to make sure that this doesn’t happen to anyone else or, if it already has, that they feel empowered enough to speak up about it.”

Following a report being lodged with local police, an officer was dispatched to investigate, once the evidence was gathered, the suspects intentions were ‘unmistakable’.

Describing the crime as an “absolutely horrendous and appalling thing,” Eureka Police Chief Steve Watson said that “it was very clear in my mind this was a deliberate act based on the suspect’s perception of [the victims’] sexual orientation,” going on to confirm that any inquires made by police would be done so as a hate crime. 

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 Under Californian state law, a hate crime is defined as a criminal act committed, in whole or in part, because of the victim’s disability, gender, nationality, race/ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation and carries a maximum penalty of up to a year in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

Watson, in a conversation with the couple on Thursday morning, said “I just wanted to reassure you that the city manager and I, the council — that EPD and the city have your back.”

“This kind of hate is not going to be tolerated. We’ll throw every resource we have into identifying, pursuing and arresting whoever’s responsible, as well as working with the District Attorney to make sure they’re prosecuted to fullest extent of the law.”

If you feel distressed reading the story, you can reach out to support services.

For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14

For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.

 

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