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.


  1. Benji says

    @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!

  2. Paul R says

    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.

  3. John says

    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!”

  4. patrick nyc says

    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.

  5. Attmay says

    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!

  6. Gast says


    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.

  7. Tolouise says

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

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


  8. John says

    “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.

  9. Tolouise says

    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!

  10. Randy says

    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?

  11. John in Boston says

    He does look hot…..but c’mon……….there are good,even hot, looking genuinely str8 dudes who are genuinely anti-gay,homophobic…..they aren’t all in ‘denial’ or the closet.

    A lot of gay dudes automatically think ANY good looking, ‘pretty’, and/or hot dude is gay or in denial. Often, it’s the gay dude who is in denial.

    I’m not saying this is automatically the case with this piece of work.

  12. John says


    You might want to actually go to the FBI’s website and look at the statistics before you fly into a rage.

    As for being physically assaulted in Chelsea or any other gay neighborhood, I have never made such a claim. I don’t know where you got that from. Perhaps you should re-read my comments as well. Preferably while sober. Although I’ve heard plenty of racist remarks in those neighborhoods, especially in bars where drunk men often reveal their racial attitudes in all its ugliness, I’ve never been attacked.

    I’m very critical of gay white men for their political schizophrenia. Most of them aren’t really that liberal on anything other than gay rights. And this shotgun marriage with the Democrats is an alliance of convenience at best. I think if the Republicans weren’t so horribly homophobic, most of them would join the vast majority of their straight breathen and switch over to the GOP in a New York minute.

    It is a disagreement that sometimes boils over into frustration. As it has since the election of Obama. But to their credit, one of them has never actually hit me.

  13. John in Boston says

    Political schizophrenia. How can anyone with a brain not be politically schizophrenic? One size does not fit all. The world of academia and ideology for most people, at some point, clashes with the real world and it’s realities. Most people, homosexuals/bisexuals included, of all races, ethnicities, genders, ET AL., must live in the real world.

    Rigid ideologies don’t stand up well in the real world. Don’t be or act surprised when many people fake it. Commonsense and self-preservation will usually over-ride any rigid ideology.

  14. John in Boston says

    And why pick on ‘White’ men? What about Asian, black, Latino, mixed, ET AL men? What about woman? MOST people, regardless if they’re white, Asian, black, Latino, mixed, female, male, ET AL (did I leave anyone out?) are politically schizophrenic.

    Shotgun marriage indeed. You think a ‘marriage’ between so-called minority ‘advocates’ (including various religious organizations like conservative, traditional black southern based churches, the Catholic Church, ET AL.,) far left moonbats, gay rights organizations and advocates, ET AL., isn’t a unsustainable shotgun marriage? From a gay rights viewpoint, MOST of the ‘Minority’ (non-gay) advocates aren’t the least bit interested in gays, are embarrassed by their association with them, and only tolerate it because it’s expedient and brings in more money and influence than they would normally have. No ‘minority’ would have any political, social, influence, or win any political election outside a minority majority political ghetto, without major help in the forms of votes, ET AL., from the majority population. This is true racially, where whites, both non-Hispanic and Hispanic, are a clear racial majority in the U.S. as a whole (this is true to an even far greater degree in every other western first world nation) and of course regarding gays, bisexuals, and heterosexuals. I don’t believe ethnicity or gender makes much of a difference one way or the other in the U.S.

    MOST tension in our society and elsewhere isn’t ultimately really race based, gender based, even sexuality based. IT’S ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL. Poor whites, blacks, Asians, Latinos, females, males, gays, bisexuals, str8s, ET AL., have more in common with each other at the end of the day. Their economic and social condition over-rides everything else at the end of the day, for the most part. Ditto middle-class, upper-middle class, wealthy, trustafarians, ET AL., These groupings of people all have economic and social conditions that ultimately clash and divide. Leftwing ideology likes to pretend it’s all kumbaya when of course everyone with a brain and any worldly experience knows it ain’t. It’s the huge flaw within broadbased leftwing ideology. MOST PEOPLE, TRUTH BE KNOWN, REGARDLESS OF WHO OR WHAT THEY ARE, ARE TO A GREAT DEGREE TRIBAL AND LOOK OUT FOR THEIR OWN INTERESTS FIRST AND FOREMOST,AND THEIR BEST INTERESTS OFTEN HAVE NOTHING EVEN TO DO WITH THEIR ‘TRIBE.’. It’s human nature. It’s based on self-preservation.

  15. John in Boston says

    Blacks at 268 vs whites at 666 convicted of violent homophobic assaults is nothing to brag about for either. At 268, blacks are DISPROPORTIONATELY OVER-REPRESENTED compared to their number in the population as a whole. At 666, whites are UNDER-REPRESENTED proportionate to their numbers in the population as a whole. Out of the FBI’s 32 crime categories, blacks are proportionately OVER-REPRESENTED, often grossly, in 29 out of 32. Whites are UNDER-REPRESENTED in 29 categories, with the 3 exceptions being public drunkenness, D.U.I., liquor law violations.

    WHAT THE F IS HARD TO UNDERSTAND ABOUT THIS? Blacks, specifically black males, more specifically YOUNG black males, commit violent crimes, including homophobic assaults, at numbers that proportionately far exceed their over-all proportion of the population at large. In some violent crime categories, black males, even though at best making up 6% of the over-all population (young males probably 2-3%) are actually responsible not just for a disproportionate level of murders and robberies, but for the actual over-all number of homicides and robberies. Homicides at 52%, robberies at an amazing 69%. WHAT THE FUCK IS HARD TO UNDERSTAND ABOUT THIS? Why is it ‘racial’ or ‘bigoted’ to acknowledge it and discuss it? IT’S FUCKING REALITY!

  16. Gast says

    John you proved my point. Your figures would represent 0.000300% of whites compared to 0.000655% of blacks, therefore straight blacks are slightly more than twice as likely to engage in violent acts against gays than straight whites. Oh and Tolousie, seriously put down that bottle.

  17. Esurnir says

    Is it possible to get your stats filtered with the per dollar of income ? Because it’s easy to say black are more violent or homophobic but let’s say if there are more black in the lower classes of the population than white it might be easy to put the blame on race while social level and income might be more a factor. Rich homophobe don’t beatdown people they fund signature gathering initiative.

    At equal level of income are black really that over represented?

  18. Hypocrisy says

    Way to go Esurnir! You hit the nail on the head and shutdown the ignorant comments.

    These bigots want to focus on race when our country has long sense evolved beyond race and into class.

    The people committing these crimes I can assure you mostly fall into the same class.

    Regardless of that fact it’s fun to watch bigots make excuses for white homophobes while hurling racial slurs at black homophobes.

    It’s also extremely fun to watch the out of touch morons drool over white homophobes who commit hate crimes against them.

  19. giovanni says

    “Why is it ‘racial’ or ‘bigoted’ to acknowledge it and discuss it? IT’S FUCKING REALITY!”

    Because generally the motivation behind said acknowledgement is steeped in a world view that is anything but thoughtful/helpful. And you KNOW IT.

    The vast majority of violent crime committed by young men of color in this country is against OTHER young men of color – gay or straight. It’s poor vs poor (as you stated) but if you really were that concerned about it you would be offering solutions as well as ways for the gay community as a whole to get involved in the fight against poverty rather than statistically (and disingenuously) defend the racism that often permeates the comment sections of this blog.


    Tolouise – I feel your pain but you really should take a breath before you react if for no other reason than to help others better understand your point. Ignorance is the enemy of all.

  20. John in Boston says


    YOU ARE A BIGOT…..not me. You’re assuming ALL, even MOST, hate based homophobic assaults are committed by those nasty, inferior, POOR and dreaded WORKING-CLASS ‘Rednecks’ and ‘Ni**as’.

    I grew up working-class,lower middle–class, in a big city, urban environment. I grew up surrounded by ALL kinds of people, including gays, from my earliest age. I made it through college, as did my siblings, and am today ‘Middle-Class’. I spent a great deal of time as a teenager, young adult, with not just working-class or middle-class but WEALTHY kids while living and working at a very exclusive prep school near Boston. I was in the service where I encountered an even more diverse group of people, often from places like the rural South and Midwest, people I’d never met before with a lifestyle alien to my upbringing. I’ve traveled extensively, and have lived outside the U.S. Most of my close relatives are and were non-native born American. I’VE NEVER SEEN ANY INDICATION FROM MY OWN EXPERIENCE DESCRIBED ABOVE OF ‘POOR’ OR ‘WORKING-CLASS’ PEOPLE BEING MORE OR LESS HOMOPHOBIC THAN ANY OTHER DEMOGRAPHIC. People with greater means due to their social position and wealth I’ve noticed are often adept at masking their true feelings and frequently behave in a grossly hypocritical manner, for example; when they try to deflect criticism regarding their P.C. hypocrisy and NYMBY lifestyles, while blaming all ‘Racism’ and other forms of un-P.C. ‘Bigotry’ on poor or working-class ‘Hicks’, ‘White-Trash’, and ‘Rednecks’


    We’ve been spending more $$$$ than you can shake a stick at in the U.S. in social spending, the ‘War’ on poverty, ET AL since the 1960’s, in other words for GENERATIONS. Yet there’s still a serious issue with a multi-generational dysfunctional under-class, especially among African Americans, but increasing among whites and other groups. This problem has actually gotten worse over the past 40 years, not better. And the violence is as bad, or worse, than it’s ever been.

    What do gay kumbaya moonbats have to say about this? They helped create and enable our dysfunctional under-class with flawed, generational social engineering proven to be a failure.

  21. Derrick from Philly says


    I and every other black visitor to Andy Towle’s blog appreciate your continued efforts on these racial issues that come up here. I’ve given up, and, at times, fear that I’m giving in to racial hatred. But I’m glad that you’re still maintaining total dignity and calm(I’d just resort to racial slurs at this point, and I don’t want to do that on Andy’s blog…anymore)


    anybody who doesn’t understand why you made that “preemptive strike” with your first comment is either dishonest or new to this blog. There have been so many anti-black comments by the homo Klan members on this blog, and you reacted with JUSTIFIED emotion.


    If you live in a big American city where there are black neighborhoods in turmoil, and those black neighborhoods are situated close to areas lived in or frequented by gay men– gay men will be easy targets for those young black men (and others) who resort to crime. I’ve been a victim of robbery and anti-gay and anti-black violence (and a combination of both). What the fuck makes you think that you should be immune to urban crime? Is there something special about you?

    Criminals are equal opportunity enthusiasts.

    ( Last week, I promised myself that I was threw with this shit…damn)

  22. John in Boston says

    I NEVER said I’m ‘Special’ and should be immune to violence in our society. I DON’T THINK ANYONE, BLACK, WHITE, WHATEVER THE FUCK, SHOULD HAVE TO LIVE IN FEAR. In urban America, it doesn’t have to be as bad as it is (it’s the worse in the western world, minus South Africa) but it’s tolerated FOR POLITICALLY CORRECT REASONS.

    WHY THE FUCK SHOULD I, OR ANYONE ELSE, PUT UP WITH, TOLERATE, EXTREMELY HIGH LEVELS OF VIOLENCE AMONG BLACK MEN, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT SPILLS OVER? ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS DERRICK? No, no, no, no,no…ssssshhhh! Don’t mention crime and violence! Don’t want to offend black folks and be called a racist.

  23. nic says

    you never, ever assault a policeman, especially if you are in the process of commiting a crime. and more, you never, ever try to steal a cop’s gun. these two idiotic bigots (yes, i know that’s redundant) will surely get their asses handed to them.

  24. Terrance says

    Hmph. I saw his picture and I was preparing to feel sorry for the guy (‘yet another gay guy bashed outside a bar. Jeez, when will it ever stop?’)

    Then I read the story.

    Well, yeah, he’s *kinda* cute in a ‘rough, fratty, hate-criminal-y, potential sex-criminal-y’ sorta way, but, really, you guys can do somewhat better….!

    It does amuse me that a blog post about some white dude trying (and failing) to burn a flag at a gay community center devolved into a heated debate about race – I guess that *Race* has become the Rohrschact (sp?) Test for us all…

  25. Phil says

    the balls it takes to perform any act of vandalism alone makes me sick…but to all those hating on ppl calling him good looking…i mean look at him…they aren’t wrong at all

  26. Name says

    Damn homophobic apes attacking us and destroying our property.

    We need to reach out to the white community and teach them to stop being so homophobic. These young white males are always committing violent hate crimes and it needs to stop.

  27. Q says

    John In Boston, you are a piece of work. You ask the question “why pick on white men” when it comes to political schizophrenia and you drag all the other races in. Then in the very next paragraph (and every other comment) you rant about Blacks as criminals.

    And by the way, statistics are rarely ever accurate. There are always variants that are not taken into account either by the persons conducting the research or the morons who like to quote them ad nauseum. And we all know the FBI NEVER fudges any facts or reports, right? Please.

    You, Gast and the others like you are nothing but racist trolls, whether your delusional, statistic-quoting asses want to believe it or not.

  28. John in Boston says


    HOMICIDE STATISTICS ARE ACCURATE. They can’t be ‘Fudged’ or mis-read:

    In 52% of homicides in the U.S. according to the F.B.I/D.O.J., black males were the perps. Black males make up a whopping 6% of the total U.S. population, but they are responsible for 52 fucking 5 of ALL homicides in the U.S.

    What do Oakland, Memphis, New Orleans, Detroit, Chicago, St Louis, Atlanta, Birmingham, Richmond, Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Newark, Trenton, Camden, have in common? Name me one city with a large and/or majority black population that doesn’t have a TERRIBLE violent crime problem. And don’t name NYC. NYC averaging 450-500 murders a year recently is still MUCH higher than a comparable city like London,UK which had around 160 murders doing a comparable period. THE MAJORITY OF ALL HOMICIDES IN NYC ARE COMMITTED BY YOUNG MINORITY MALES, MAINLY BLACK. The OVERWHELMING majority of GUN CRIMES in NYC are committed by guess who?

    I shouldn’t even be responding to the tedious trolls.

    The truth fucking hurts. To fucking bad. The truth is even more painful to the tens of thousands of people murdered, shot, stabbed, jumped, robbed, raped, ET AL., or the neighborhoods, even whole cities, destroyed or left a shell of their former self, and the resultant economic devastation.

    What’s even fucking worse is the animal who robs or assaults you is likely to also have benefited in every possible way from a plethora of federal and state social services in heavily subsidized housing, food, healthcare, earned income tax credit, schools, the whole fucking nine yards. EVERY TIME I drive by a housing project I only wish I had some rocket launchers or better still a SAM it pisses me off that much.

  29. John in Boston says

    And Giovanni: A BIG, FAT, FUCK YOU.

    You fucking ignorant dufus. The world doesn’t go easy on me. The world holds me to a high standard. If I can deal with it, those poor, violent ‘young men of color’, or more grammatical, colored young men, can like-wise. They aren’t ‘special’ or deserving of a double-standard anymore than me.

  30. Q says

    John in Boston,

    Since you seem to like CAPS:



  31. John in Boston says

    Homicide statistics are straight-forward.

    1) A body (gender,age,race,ET AL., compiled)
    2) A perp arrested, charged, case adjudicated, conviction. (gender,age,race,ET AL., compiled)
    3) Above statistics compiled.

    A clear picture of average victims and perps is created. An accurate (homicide statistics, for obvious reasons, are the most accurate and straight-forward) homicide count, with relevant demographic data, is compiled.

    It’s not rocket science. Crimes such as ‘Hate’ crimes are far more open to interpretation. Homicides aren’t. Neither are robberies.

  32. Q says

    And the details of homicides are overlooked, incorrectly and mistakenly reported all the time. There are many innocent black men with criminal records because of corrupt cops, judges, etc. Statistics don’t take that into account though, do they? It just crunches the numbers.
    So you can try to hide your racist rhetoric behind statistics all you want. A quick review of the history of your comments on this blog makes it very clear what you are.

Leave A Reply