Courtroom drama

Homophobic flat-Earther breaks down in tears during pride flag trial

Donald Barrigar. Via WWNYTV

A jury in New York acquitted a man caught on camera tampering with a pride flag this week. The accused couldn’t help but taunt prosecutors with homophobic comments as he left the courtroom.

A court in Watertown, New York acquitted Donnie Lee Barrigar, 37, on June 2. The Watertown Daily Times reports that Barrigar broke down in tears as the jury read the verdict. Apparently emboldened by his acquittal, Barrigar also felt a need to berate the prosecutors in the case.

“Read your Bible, boys,” he said following the verdict. “Read your Bibles.”

Related: Iowa man sentenced to 15 years after stealing and burning Pride flag

Barrigar stood trial for criminal tampering after he posted a video of himself to YouTube stealing the pride flag from outside Waterton City Hall and stuffing it in a nearby mailbox last year. The city, like many others, raises the pride flag every June in honor of pride month.

During the trial, a number of city employees testified that locating and restoring the pride flag interfered with their work. Barrigar argued that he exercised his First Amendment rights to free speech and freedom of religion to remove the flag. Still, despite the testimony from city employees, the jury did not find that Barrigar’s actions caused “substantial inconvenience” to the city.

More than 150 LGBTQ rights supporters protested outside the courthouse during Barrigar’s trial. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also labeled Barrigar a “bigot.”

Donnie Barrigar has a history of disruptive behavior where the city of Watertown is concerned. Besides his trial for taking down the pride flag, police also have arrested Barrigar for trespassing after he invaded a city council meeting to push a “flat Earth” theory. Barrigar will appear in court for that case June 4.

In 2019, Barrigar also publicly urged violence against the LGBTQ community, writing on Facebook “Watertown is having a LGBTQ celebration. For the love of God, please let someone go on a mass shooting.”