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NYPD searches for man accused of defecating on Pride flag

The police department’s Hate Crime Task Force is investigating.

New York City police are seeking the public’s help as it searches for a man suspected of defacing two LGBTQ Pride flags. 

The unidentified man entered a location in Manhattan’s tony Upper West Side neighborhood and defecated on one rainbow Pride flag and then “took a second Pride flag and wiped his backside with it,” according to a statement released Saturday by the NYPD. 

The aggravated harassment, which reportedly took place on the morning of April 15, is being investigated by the police department’s Hate Crime Task Force. 

While no video surveillance of the actual incident was released to the public, the New York Post obtained and published a video that appears to show the same unidentified man relieving himself on Pride flags located in the dining shed of a restaurant located at the same Upper West Side address where police said the incident took place. NBC News has not independently verified the graphic video. 

The NYPD did, however, share a video and photo that the department says shows the man “within the vicinity of the incident location.” 

This latest incident is one of several attacks against LGBTQ establishments, figures and symbols in New York City over the past year.

In February, a woman was arrested and charged with multiple hate crimes after she allegedly torched an LGBTQ pride flag hanging from a Manhattan restaurant. In December, two people were arrested after a group of protesters allegedly vandalized New York City Council Member Erik Bottcher’s apartment building with graffiti containing homophobic slurs. The month prior, a man was arrested after allegedly throwing bricks at the window of a Hell’s Kitchen gay bar several times within a matter of days. And in April 2022, a Brooklyn bar serving LGBTQ New Yorkers closed after an arson attack left the establishment unrecognizable.

CORRECTION (May 1, 2023, 9:20 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated when a Brooklyn bar serving LGBTQ New Yorkers closed after an arson attack. It was in April 2022, not last month.