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Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Student Accused of Ripping Mexican Flag
By Martin Salazar
Journal Staff Writer
A University of New Mexico student faces a misdemeanor charge of criminal damage to property for allegedly removing a Mexican flag from a UNM flagpole and tearing it apart.
A criminal complaint filed this week in Bernalillo County Metro Court identifies the student as 30-year-old Peter Ryan Lynch.
UNM police Lt. Patrick Davis said Lynch would receive a summons to appear in Metro Court to answer the charge. The Journal was unable to reach Lynch for comment.
The flag was raised outside the UNM administration building during a Mexican independence celebration on Friday. Mexican independence day was Sunday.
A news release from the Mexican Student Association called the vandalism an "act of hate" and an "unwarranted act of the desecration of the Mexican flag."
But Davis said UNM police don't believe the vandalism was ethnically motivated because Lynch wasn't heard making any negative statements against Mexicans or Hispanics.
The criminal complaint states that after Lynch removed the Mexican flag from the pole on Monday, he "tore it into two pieces and proceeded to the Air Force ROTC office on the UNM campus where he told Curtis Johansen and others that he had taken the flag from the pole and tore it because it was flying on the campus and there was no American flag present."
The Mexican Student Association news release states that another flag-raising ceremony will be held Thursday and that UNM President David Schmidly will be present.
"We're all taking this in a very mature way," said UNM senior Brenda Loya, vice president of the Mexican student association.