Pride flag torn down at Hoboken restaurant for 2nd time

Sonia Rincón Image
Tuesday, December 5, 2023
Pride flag torn down at Hoboken restaurant for 2nd time
Sonia Rincon has more on the vandalism in Hoboken.

HOBOKEN, New Jersey (WABC) -- A restaurant in Hoboken, New Jersey is looking for answers after the owner says its pride flag was vandalized for the second time.

Eyewitness News obtained video of the flag torn down and hanging outside.

It's the second time the pride flag at Uncle Milton's Café has been vandalized. The first time was 3 weeks ago, when owner Milton Canales found his flag ripped up and burned.

"They burned the sides first, then they slashed it, and they left it hanging," Canales said.

On Sunday morning, it happened again.

"I said, 'oh lord, there we go again,'" Canales said.

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Canales found the flag cut down and wrapped around the front door handles. But this time he was he was able to hang it right back at its spot.

The café's entire message is one of inclusivity and safety, with welcoming messages, and even a little book corner for LGBTQ+ youth.

Canales says he's worried about the hateful message the vandal is sending young people who might be vulnerable.

"If someone's playing a joke or this think is funny, it's not funny," he said. "It's very hurtful. It is. And at the same time it's scary."

Back in August, a business owner in California was killed, arguing with someone who had torn down her pride flag, that she kept replacing.

"When it happens a second time, there is that notion of harassment, of something that is no longer a one-off and we want to make sure that that doesn't happen," community advocate Ron Bautista.

Bautista's tweet saying, this cannot be tolerated was quote tweeted by Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla, who called it unacceptable.

"Hoboken is a fair and welcoming city where all are welcome and respected. Hate has no place here. We stand with Uncle Milton's Cafe, a staple of our community," said Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla in a post online.

Canales immediately called the police again this time, but realized his surveillance cameras weren't actually rolling when it happened, sometime between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. Saturday night. But he says they will be if it happens again.

"I'm just going to keep going," Canales said. "It's not going to stop me. If you want to cut down my flag, be my guest but I'm going to catch them and I can't wait to catch them and put their face out there."

Anyone with information in regard to the incident is asked to call the Hoboken Police Department.

The incident is under investigation.


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