State Briefs

Nazi flag hoisted in Laramie park

LARAMIE (WNE) — The flag of Nazi Germany was discovered Monday morning flying atop the flagpole of Washington Park’s band shell. The U.S. flag typically donning the pole was crumpled and shoved into a corner of the band shell.

Officers from the Laramie Police Department arrived shortly after 11 a.m. After briefly discussing the best course of action, Detective Ryan Gerdes and Officer Logan Warren folded — as best they could — the American flag according to traditional etiquette.

Warren then lowered the Nazi flag and restored the American flag as Gerdes saluted the Stars and Stripes. The Nazi flag was taken as evidence.

“Obviously this is awful,” Gerdes said. “I’m just glad we found the [American] flag.”

Lt. Gwen Smith, who’s worked for LPD for 26 years, said this is among the very few cases “in recent memory” that has an obvious “bias” component LPD is investigating.

“This is pretty unique for us, and I’m sure the officers are going to be investigating this pretty hard,” she said.

In 2017, two instances of graffiti were classified as “bias crimes.” No suspects were identified.

Until 2017, LPD had not classified a case as a bias crime in six years.

In Monday’s flag case, Smith said police will look for circumstantial evidence, like when the flag was first noticed or if any neighbors saw suspicious activity.

In February, flyers promoting a white nationalist group were removed from University of Wyoming bulletin boards. Flyers denying the Holocaust were also posted on UW boards in November.

Aug. 7 trial set in Haynes residency question

LARAMIE (WNE) — A trial has been set for Aug. 7 in Laramie County District Court concerning the residency of Taylor Haynes, who’s running for governor but has been ruled ineligible by the Wyoming Secretary of State’s office. A Wednesday hearing is scheduled to precede the trial.

Wyoming Attorney General Peter Michael is seeking an injunction “ordering Dr. Taylor Haynes to withdraw from the race or otherwise cease his campaign.”

In his court filing, Michael took a strong stance against Haynes, asserting his candidacy threatens the integrity of the race. While Haynes filed to run as a Laramie resident, the Secretary of State’s office determined his ranch home actually lies in Colorado.

In a news release issued last week, Secretary of State Ed Buchanan took a much softer tone on Haynes’s candidacy than the court filing.

Buchanan suggested the onus for a residency determination was on Laramie County’s District Court judge. The press release didn’t acknowledge Buchanan’s office has already ruled Haynes ineligible.

“The step we’ve taken today is not one we’ve taken lightly, but it is undoubtedly a necessary step which will allow for this issue to be resolved for the protection of the election process, the voters, and for all candidates for governor in 2018 and in future elections,” Buchanan said. Since Buchanan ruled Haynes ineligible, the candidate has not responded to requests for comment from the Laramie Boomerang.

He continued to campaign across the state this week.

In a discussion broadcast Sunday on Facebook Live, Haynes expressed confidence that a judge would overrule Buchanan’s office, whose press release Haynes said was “very unprofessional” and misinterpreted the Wyoming Constitution.

“As this gets into court and the judge looks at all the facts, we should prevail without question,” Haynes said.

Man survives lightning strike in Campbell County

GILLETTE (WNE) — A 60-year-old man was struck by lightning during Friday evening’s thunderstorm, which brought rain and strong winds to Campbell County.

The man was struck at about 8:20 p.m. on Knickerbocker Street in the Sleepy Hollow subdivision, said Sheriff’s Cpl. Dan Maul. The man was conscious and breathing after the strike but appeared confused. He was taken to the emergency room for treatment.

Friday’s thunderstorms brought 0.13 inches of rain to Gillette, according to the city’s official weather station at the wastewater treatment facility. The monthly total is now 1.48 inches.

No hail was reported in Campbell County, although hail was spotted to the east and west, according to the National Weather Service.

Winds gusted up to 52 mph in Gillette and hit 60 mph in the northern part of the county.

Despite the numerous lightning strikes, the Campbell County Fire Department didn’t respond to any fires overnight Friday.

On Saturday, the National Weather Service reported a tornado touched down about 11 miles south of Douglas in Converse County.