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WKBW 7 News Buffalo

Confrontation over flags outside of town hall in Hamburg leads to arrest

By Lia Lando,


There was some controversy over flags in the Town of Hamburg that resulted in an arrest.

It all started Friday when town leaders, along with high school students, raised the Pride flag at town hall. Hamburg Town Supervisor Randy Hoak said it was right before the ceremony that they realized the POW-MIA flag was tattered and needed to be replaced and was taken down. This led to a confrontation with a local veteran who believed the flag was being replaced, which led to an arrest.

Hoak says this was all a misunderstanding, "There was a veteran here for the pride celebration who stood up to say something to the individual and once she did that he turned around to approach her and I got between the two of them. There were some very derogatory comments."

According to Hoak, he has been getting threats because people believed the POW flag was being replaced. Hoak explains, "We got about a dozen calls at the office today. There's another group who publicized my personal cell phone number on social media."

Hoak showed us the tattered flag that was taken down and a new flag was put up on Monday while our crew was there. The old flag was up for 11 months and Hoak says, "It always surprises me the impact the weather has on these flags."

Veteran Russell Jay Deveso says they were upset that the POW flag was taken down but, "we don't have any problem with the pride flag, as long as it's displayed properly."

Deveso says they are planning a rally for this Saturday at 10:30 a.m. It's being organized by the constitutional coalition of New York State. The Hamburg Town Supervisor is hosting a Pride Ride that same day at 11:30 a.m. at Woodview Park in the Village of Hamburg.

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