Police investigating alleged theft and burning of Nazi flag pulled from Sask. home
Man posts message saying he did it to combat racism
Police say they now are investigating an incident where a Nazi flag flying atop the roof of a house in a small Saskatchewan village was allegedly taken down and burned.
In a widely shared video post on Facebook by a person under the name Caleb Beaudin, a man can be seen holding a Nazi flag while others light it on fire.
"Stop racism. Shit ain't cool," the man in the video says. "It has to end now, and not later."
CBC has reached out to the person who posted the video, but messages have not been returned.
The flag originally went up on Thursday night, according to the mayor of Kelliher, which is a small village located about 140 kilometres northeast of Regina.
An earlier online post by the same account shared a picture of the Nazi flag, which could be seen accompanied by a Confederate flag, and read, "Racism is alive and well in this area. This is what white privilege looks like." The post drew multiple comments decrying it as "sickening" and "ignorant."
Mayor Darcy King of Kelliher said the village had also fielded complaints about the flag, which he said was put up by a 34-year-old resident who "never grew up." CBC has been unable to identify who it was that raised the flag.
While police said displaying the flag was not illegal, they confirmed that officers had talked to the man about it and the owner of the residence had agreed to remove the flags once it had stopped raining.
"RCMP officers were confident the matter was in the process of being resolved without further incident," stated the release.
On Saturday, just after midnight, a Facebook video went up showing supposedly the same flag going up in flames.
The face of the person in the video is obscured by a ball cap and a Confederate flag. It's unclear if this was the same Confederate flag from the house.
Beaudin claimed taking down the flag and posted in the comments section that there are a number of First Nations children that attend the school in Kelliher.
"I did it for not only them but for us and First Nation people," he wrote.
Muskowekwan First Nation is located 20 kilometres west of the village, while George Gordon First Nation is located about 50 kilometres west from the village.
Beaudin later posted news coverage of the flag burning, writing, "If I get charged just know I have a whole nation behind me and we will use our voice #RiseUp."
Police said they would be investigating the incident and would be meeting with the occupant of the home.
Is it illegal to display a Nazi flag?
There are potential legal routes to take against someone flying of a Nazi flag, according to Richard Moon, professor of law at the University of Windsor.
Moon said if this flag is visible to people walking by, it counts as a display.
The Criminal Code of Canada's Section 319(2) prohibits the willful promotion of hatred, while the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code also prohibits representations or displays that expose to hatred any person or class of persons on the basis of a prohibited grounds.
Complaints made to the police under the Criminal Code could be investigated, and it is ultimately up to the province's attorney general to decide whether to try and prosecute, he said.
"You're going to have to establish the individual intended to spread hatred, that was aware his or her actions were likely to spread or stir up hatred," he said, adding he believes it's "straightforward" that a swastika does that, given its connection to Nazi violence.
"I think it's distinctly possible a court would find this hate speech, intended to stir up hatred against the members of a group, against Jews."