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Forum News Service, Published June 03 2013

Police investigate flag burnings in Willmar

WILLMAR, Minn. - Willmar police are investigating two incidents of someone burning a U.S. flag early Saturday.

Police Chief David Wyffels said there are two confirmed incidents, at Kitchen Fair on Fifth Street Southwest and the Midas Auto station on Litchfield Avenue Southwest.

The incidents are believed to be connected and happened within a close time proximity, Wyffels said in a news release. Police have video footage of one of the incidents recorded just after 1 a.m. Saturday.

In the release and an interview Monday, Wyffels stressed that community response and citizen statements received by police accusing people from the Somali community are unfounded and “only cause additional speculation, resentment and animosity within the community at large.”

The video, which is being reviewed by investigators, shows otherwise, Wyffels said. The footage shows that multiple young males are involved.

Wyffels also stressed that there is no evidence suggesting a connection to terrorism, a bias offense or some larger subversive effort. The charges relating to the burnings include arson and criminal damage to property.