He Burned Their LGBTQ+ Flag In Boise. Now He’s In Prison.
When you encounter a hater online, you have a few options. Choose to ignore them as they continually poke at you, or smash that block button and remove that person from your existence forever.
Unfortunately, in real life, you have to pursue other avenues in lieu of an actual block button that exists in our reality.
Last October, Matthew Lehigh was arrested after police received reports of him hurling homophobic slurs and erratically driving his car. After his arrest, he also confessed to destruction of property at an LGBTQ+ center, punching a local grocery store employee after insulting him, and even lighting a pride flag at someone's home on fire.
Here's the issue: You can't hit someone with a hate crime in Idaho for discriminating against the LGBTQ+ community, because the Idaho Human Rights Act doesn't defend against that. Which is a whole other issue. Luckily, the U.S. Department of Justice decided to join the fray, and they indicted Lehigh on federal hate crime charges.
Since you read the title of this article, this next part won't surprise you. A judge sentenced the criminal to 37 months in federal prison. He'll also be responsible for court fees and restitution.
The federal judge, Judge Lynn Winmill, had this to say in the courtroom:
Mr. Lehigh, I hope you’ve come to appreciate the pain that your conduct has caused. In cases like this, I think you now appreciate that the pain is almost exponentially increased because it’s not a random, impulsive act of violence, but rather a purposeful act of violence against an individual because of their most basic human characteristics, who they are, who they perceive themselves to be and who they love.
Let's all be kind to each other.
Boise Pride Festival Lineup 2022
Gallery Credit: Credit: Mateo, 103.5 KISS FM