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Posts for September, 2010

Parade Commodore to 14-year-old Girl: “Go To A Country Where They Hang People Like You”

Jim Burroway

September 30th, 2010

The reigning “Riverfest commodore” for a La Crosse, Wisconsin, annual festival reportedly shoved a 14-year-old girl who was carrying two rainbow flags just before a parade on Saturday.

According to the La Crosse Tribune, the girl was rollerblading and carring two gay pride flags as part of the Seven Rivers LGBT Resource Center’s float when the ugly encounter occurred:

Commodore Mark Schneider, who was on a float nearby, approached the girl and put his hands on the flagpole, [the LGBT center’s Executive Director Rosanne] St. Sauver said. St. Sauver walked over, placed her hands on the pole and told him, “Please stop, she’s a 14-year-old child.”

“He said, ‘I do not care. Look what you are teaching them,’” St. Sauver said.

That’s when, St. Sauver said, Schneider shoved the girl with his body.

St. Sauver said Schneider told the girl: “Go to a country where they will hang people like you.“

The incident left the teen crying, and others upset, St. Sauver said. This is the first year the center has participated in the parade.

Schneider denies shoving the teen or making offensive comments. Schneider claimed that his objections were to the alterations to one of the two flags. One of the flags’s design was based on the American flag with the red and white stripes substituted for rainbow stripes.

Schneider has been cited for disorderly conduct. He has since apologized for the confrontation. The Riverfest president, Mike Schieber, and the LGBT center president Kathryn Heitbrink have written a joint statement following a meeting yesterady evening:

Mark Schneider, Riverfest Commodore for 2010 offered his personal apology to Emily St. Sauver and others that might have been affected for events that happened that day. This apology was accepted with the understanding that both organizations will collaborate to promote La Crosse and the surrounding community as a safe place for all people, where all members of the community can be celebrated.”

With all the craziness we’ve seen over the past two weeks, it’s good to see at least one incident come to a satisfactory conclusion.