Police officials in Long Beach, California, said they removed an “unauthorized” “Make America Great Again” flag supporting President Donald Trump after it was seen flying outside of their station this weekend.
“Police Department employees obtained bolt cutters to cut the rope and remove the flag,” Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) said in a statement. “A crime report has been taken and an investigation is underway to determine who is responsible for this incident.”
Normally, three flags fly outside of the main entrance of the Long Beach Police Department Public Safety Building. Access to the area near the flags is presently limited to construction employees due to parking lot construction.
After the flags were switched, the Trump flag was padlocked “in order to restrict the flag’s removal,” according to a press release from LBPD.
LBPD, which describes itself as “an apolitical organization,” said “flags or images depicting political activity are not authorized or endorsed.”
The police department released surveillance footage of the suspect in a tweet.
“We’re still reviewing evidence to find those responsible for this,” LBPD said. “Video shows a subject cross the street, enter our lot which is under construction and change the flag.”
Police officials said they are working with the construction company to locate any witnesses and say they have no indication the person captured in the video is an LBPD employee.
After seeing the flag, some members of the community shared their reactions on Twitter.
“This Trump campaign flag flying on city property needs to come down,” Long Beach resident Ian Thomas Malone wrote in a tweet directed at the city’s mayor. “As a transgender resident, I’m horrified that this is even allowed to happen. Long Beach is a very diverse city, the opposite of Trump’s America.”
In an interview with CNN, Malone, a transgender author and film critic, reiterated the tweet.
“I was disgusted and disappointed. Long Beach is an incredibly diverse city,” Malone said.
“I moved here early in my transition specifically because of its reputation as a LGBTQ-friendly place. The police are sending a message that they’ve learned nothing from all of the protests against police brutality.”