Willmar Police are investigating two incidents of someone burning
a U.S. flag during the early morning hours Saturday.
According to Police Chief David Wyffels, there are two confirmed
incidents, at Kitchen Fair, along the 300 block of Fifth Street
Southwest, and at the Midas Auto station, along the 700 block of
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.
In his news release and in an interview this morning with the
West Central Tribune, Wyffels stressed that community response and
citizen statements received by police accusing individuals from the
Somali community are unfounded and “only cause additional speculation,
resentment and animosity within the community at large,” he said.
The video footage evidence, which is being reviewed by police
investigators, shows otherwise, Wyffels said. The footage shows that
multiple young males are involved.
Wyffels also stressed that while the acts are concerning, there
is nothing in either incident that knowingly raises the crime to a
level of terrorism, that the incident was a bias offense or that this
is connected to some larger subversive effort.
Neither act represents any danger to the public, Wyffels said.
The charges relating to these crimes include arson and criminal damage
to property, both of which are being investigated and pursued.
Anyone with information that might assist in resolving these
crimes is asked to contact the Willmar Police Department at