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Man charged after allegedly stealing and damaging pride flag in North Vancouver

Police have requested that the Crown consider this incident to be motivated by hate for sentencing purposes
After one was torn down in May, three pride progress flags now fly at Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver.

A man has been charged after he allegedly stole and damaged a pride flag that was flying on a pole in Lonsdale Quay.

Kristopher Kamienik, 51, had his first appearance in North Vancouver Provincial Court on Wednesday morning and was charged with one count of mischief under $5,000 and one count of theft under $5,000.

The alleged incident on May 25 was posted to social media and brought to the attention of police, according to North Vancouver RCMP. Kamienik was arrested on June 22 after a “thorough” investigation, and a report to Crown counsel was submitted recommending the charges, police said.

Police believe the suspect's actions were motivated by hate, said Const. Mansoor Sahak of North Vancouver RCMP.

“We have requested that if and when he’s convicted that the Crown consider this incident to be motivated by hate for sentencing purposes,” Sahak said.

In a video posted to Facebook, a man states that he is at Lonsdale Quay on May 25.

The video shows a ladder going up the flagpole and the progress pride flag lying on the ground. The man says that he climbed up the ladder and cut down the flag, using offensive language to describe the banner.

He then takes scissors to the flag and says he plans to burn it.

Sahak confirmed that the video is connected to the investigation. He added that it's up to individual social media platforms to strike content based on their policies.

In a statement released after the charges were laid, Sahak said that North Vancouver RCMP “have absolutely no tolerance for behaviour that seeks to marginalize, belittle or intimidate members of our LGBTQ2S+ community, and we will do everything we can to investigate hate crimes and hate motivated incidents, in order to see those responsible held to account.”

“We would like to thank those that came forward to provide statements and for the community for their patience as police investigated this incident,” he added.

Kamienik is due back in court on Aug. 30.