The sleepy LGBTQ haven of Rehoboth Beach, DE was rattled a bit last week when one of their beloved LGBT owned and operated businesses was vandalized. Per the police statement via the Washington Blade) “Jordan Reed, 23, of Rehoboth, Del., was arrested Wednesday afternoon [Feb. 2] following an investigation by police into two separate incidents of trespassing and criminal mischief,” the police press release says. “On Tuesday, February 1st, 2022, at around 2:30 pm, Rehoboth Beach Police were called to the second block of Maryland Avenue for a disorderly subject who entered onto a residential property, removed a flag from the front porch and buried it in the snow,” the release continues.
Conversely in a different joint statement released Feb. 4, the Rehoboth Guest House and David Mariner, executive director of CAMP Rehoboth, indicated their deep concerns that Rehoboth police did not classify the incident as an actual hate crime (as it included the desecration of a Pride Flag) hanging outside the Rehoboth Guest House, an “LGBT owned and operated business and a popular destination for the LGBTQ community”. The statement additionally said “In video supplied to the police, Jordan Reed removes the flag, steps on the flag, and buries the flag in snow,” the statement continues. “In the high-resolution version of the video, you can also see Reed spit on his hands and rub the spit into the flag before he buries it,” the statement says.
While Rehoboth Beach Guest House Innkeeper and Property Manager Tom Kelch does appreciate the quick action of the police in the matter, he also does have some apprehension about the perpetrator returning to the scene of the crime to commit another more potentially deadly act of violence against someone on the property in the future. Not only did Kelch take note that the perpretator reposted his mug shot as his Facebook profile picture, but he also noticed (according to the Washington Blade) that Reed’s Facebook page “includes photos of a handgun and comments suggesting he will not show up for his required court appearance for the arrest linked to the rainbow flag incident.”
In a twist of irony, Tom Kelch published an article in Letters, CAMP Rehoboth’s publication on the same day, as Kelch eloquently puts it, as “the hateful person attached the guest houses pride”. In his article, Kelch details how several years ago, he started his own research project on Rehoboth Beach Guest House (which he himself has “loved and managed since July 2013”). Kelch went on to provide an oral history of this landmark Rehoboth Beach business, going back over a century in his research.
As for why the incident was not initially filed as a hate crime, the Washington Blade received a statement from the Rehoboth Beach Police Department which said “The Rehoboth Police Department is currently working with the Delaware Department of Justice, Division of Civil Rights and Public Trust, to determine if the acts committed by Jordan Reed on February 1st, 2022, meet the criteria of a hate crime based on current Delaware legislation,” the statement says.
Follow Rehoboth Beach Guest House on their website