WATERTOWN — The trial of a local man accused of criminal tampering when he reportedly took down a Gay Pride flag that hung in front of City Hall last year is scheduled to start on Monday.
Donnie Lee Barrigar, of Union Street, was charged with third-degree criminal tampering on June 23 after he allegedly took down the flag that hung in front of City Hall in celebration of Gay Pride.
At the time of his arrest, Mr. Barrigar said he was well within his Constitutional rights to take down the flag. He insisted that he’s protected by his First Amendment rights to use the Gay Pride flag in his protest, saying he gets his views about homosexuality from his religious beliefs.
City Court Judge Anthony M. Neddo will preside over the jury trial that will be held in a courtroom in the Dulles State Office Building
Mr. Barrigar has pleaded not guilty. He’s accused of lowering the Pride flag and stuffing it into a City Hall mailbox.
He’s been represented by Watertown attorney John W. Hallett. The Jefferson County District Attorney’s office is prosecuting the case.
Mr. Barrigar’s actions prompted more than 150 LGBTQ+ supporters to come together in a show of solidarity to protest what he did. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo also offered to help the state police with the investigation into Mr. Barrigar’s action. The governor called him a bigot.
Last year, Mr. Barrigar caused an uproar and tension within the LGBTQ+ community after he posted a threatening Facebook message that called for a mass shooting upon hearing of last year’s Pride flag raising at City Hall.
Mr. Barrigar, who is also a “Flat Earther,” which means he doesn’t believe that the Earth is round but rather that it is flat or a disc, has said publicly he plans to remove the Gay Pride flag again if it appears in front of City Hall.