Crime | Memphis | News | Rainbow Flag | Tennessee | Vandalism

Two Men Attempt to Burn Rainbow Flag at Memphis Gay Center


Memphis police arrested 23-year-old Ross Burton early Wednesday morning as he and another man attempted to set fire to the rainbow flag (see singed rope in photo, above) at the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center, the Memphis Flyer reports:

Burton "Plainclothes officers observed Burton and another man — who fled the scene and remains at large — attempting to set fire to the rope that runs up the flag pole in front of the MGLCC. When police officers approached the men, an altercation ensued, and one suspect attempted to disarm an officer. Additional police were dispatched and some reportedly received lacerations and abrasions from the struggle. The suspects fled, but Burton was located and arrested. Burton is being charged with aggravated assault and vandalism under $500."

Burton's face is bruised because he fought with the officer, Russell Woolley: "Woolley says after Burton 'swung his fist at him,' the other guy jumped on his back and tried to take his 'service pistol from the holster.' After Woolley hit the unidentified man with his radio, he took off. But Burton never gave up the fight. It took a good samaritan and some pepper spray to get him to comply."

In late September a "Coming Out Day" billboard featuring a gay Marine that was sponsored by the Center was destroyed in an act of vandalism. Police have not determined whether the two crimes are related.

That crime inspired hundreds to rally in response.

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  1. Burton looks like a hot asshole.

    Posted by: JT | Nov 11, 2009 6:06:01 PM

  2. Me thinks Burton is confused about how to pick up a date.

    Posted by: caphillprof | Nov 11, 2009 6:08:13 PM

  3. @JT Yeah.

    Unfortuante though these incidents are it’s so uplifting the way people rally afterwards. cf. recent vigils in the UK after homophobic attacks. We can win this; will win this. It's only a matter of time... and sustained, strenuous effort!

    Posted by: Benji | Nov 11, 2009 6:23:11 PM

  4. I know you can't really *look* gay, but he sorta does. I think someone is in the closet.

    Posted by: Tony | Nov 11, 2009 6:39:36 PM

    Where's the hatred now kids!!!

    Posted by: Tolouise | Nov 11, 2009 6:41:52 PM

  6. Wow. Another antigay attack where comments focus on how hot and/or gay-looking the attacker is. Super!

    Maybe we should also mention the fact that he looks like an idiot meth freak, because man there aren't enough of those guys either. I think he also looks like an Aries born in 1976, because I have a thing for those men.

    Posted by: Paul R | Nov 11, 2009 6:43:23 PM

  7. Creep

    Posted by: JY | Nov 11, 2009 7:41:32 PM

  8. @ Tolouise
    Homophobia, hate and prejudice comes in all races and colors, not just one.

    Posted by: CB | Nov 11, 2009 8:19:51 PM

  9. CB,

    You're right. But have you noticed that the ones hwo lves to bkame African Americans for all of this is conspiciously quiet on this one?

    Posted by: Tolouise | Nov 11, 2009 8:53:35 PM

  10. To steal a phrase from Obama, the typical gay white male will likely find some novel way to blame the blacks for this:

    "This is, of course, another example of black homophobia. This cute white boy probably listened to Tracy Morgan, DL Hughley, or some other African comic going on about how bad homosexuality is. And you know how impressionable our innocent little angels are.

    Well, use your imaginations, people!

    Someone I want to do that badly couldn't possibly be a homophobe!"

    Posted by: John | Nov 11, 2009 9:07:12 PM

    Where's the hatred now kids!!!

    You seem to be doing OK with the hatred douche bag.
    You're right. But have you noticed that the ones hwo lves to bkame African Americans for all of this is conspiciously quiet on this one?

    Do you ever read or edit your posts? Heard of spell check? Or did your parents drop you on your head so many times that it does not matter?

    As I pointed out earlier, ANDY posts, and others comment, on all kinds of hate. Black, white, asian, latin, the list goes on. Yes, we get it, there are racists here, even GAY ONES!!!!

    Not all, and I'd say fewer than in the main stream. Pick your enemies, and fights people.

    Posted by: patrick nyc | Nov 11, 2009 9:24:28 PM

  12. My goodness what inane comments from Toulouise or whatever. Dude, you're voted off the island.

    Posted by: Pee Town | Nov 11, 2009 9:43:11 PM

  13. So you respond to perceived racism with real racism. Stay classy, Tolouise.

    It's easier to prove one is a racist than it is to prove one is not. Why? Because you can't prove a negative.

    And you, Tolouise, are a bona fide, dyed in the wool, card carrying racist.

    This meeting of the George Jefferson Society is adjourned. See ya later, honkies!

    Posted by: Attmay | Nov 11, 2009 9:53:35 PM

  14. Even before I read the story my gaydar went off when I saw the Burton's picture. Hmmmm, I wonder why?

    Posted by: Matty | Nov 11, 2009 10:24:05 PM

  15. @Tolouise

    Yeah, just like there are white American members of the Taliban (I could count them with my fingers). Whatever point you are trying to make out of thin air, is not working. The norm is that we see a lot more violence towards gays from black thugs, than we do from white trash. Even as they represent a fraction of the 14% African American population in the US.

    Posted by: Gast | Nov 11, 2009 10:45:54 PM

  16. @ Gast you stupid BITCH you wish you dumb motherfucker!!!!!

    Too bad it wasn't an african american who killed Matthew right????


    Posted by: Tolouise | Nov 11, 2009 11:16:40 PM

  17. "The norm is that we see a lot more violence towards gays from black thugs"

    The FBI Uniform Crime Report 2007 - Table 5

    Of the offenders convicted for crimes on the basis of sexual orientation in the 32 states that had such laws in 2007, 666 were white compared to 268 African American "thugs" as you term it.

    So, either prosecutors in urban areas are letting African American "thugs" off easier than whites with favorable plea bargains - which is not terribly likely given the history of criminal justice in this country - or gay white men are spouting Chelsea/West Hollywood/Castro anecdotal hearsay as hard evidence per usual.

    Posted by: John | Nov 11, 2009 11:53:37 PM

  18. Burton: A definite bottom. When he gets sent to the can he'll be somebody's bitch for sure!

    Posted by: Jack | Nov 11, 2009 11:59:30 PM

  19. Thanks Memphis Police for paying attention to this. I know tax paying citizens should expect no less, but I'm still happy to see it.

    Posted by: Yay | Nov 12, 2009 12:18:44 AM

  20. Is he going to be charged with resisting arrest and assaulting an officer?

    Posted by: Rhea | Nov 12, 2009 12:22:33 AM

  21. i got the same feeling-- offsite gaydar went *Pliiing*

    Posted by: unokhan | Nov 12, 2009 12:27:53 AM

  22. @tolouise

    do you need some help with your alcoholism? i would be happy to find a place for you to go.

    Posted by: Tony | Nov 12, 2009 2:03:37 AM

  23. I don't care stats your reading idiot. Everything statistical you post isn't always true.

    And asfar as being attacked in Chelsea untrue!

    Such a dumb ass John!

    Statistics proves your weapon against Blacks they don't care!

    Posted by: Tolouise | Nov 12, 2009 2:05:14 AM

  24. It would appear that although this is a crime motivated by hate, intending to intimidate an entire group, it is not a hate crime (bodily injury) under the new Matthew Shephard law. Is that true?

    Posted by: Randy | Nov 12, 2009 2:37:14 AM

  25. Tolouise,

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that you and John are on the same side.

    Posted by: Q | Nov 12, 2009 2:49:28 AM

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