First it was the ice bucket challenge. Now, a new social media campaign encourages people to film themselves tearing down Confederate flags from people’s property or vehicles.
In what appears to be the original video, posted to Facebook on July 11 by Jamari Williams, a young black man runs up to a house and jumps to tear down a Confederate flag from the flag pole. Another male, in the driver’s seat of the car, filmed the ordeal while laughing and saying “no flagging'” repeatedly.
#noFlagginchallenge snatch & run LMAO fuck the flag
Posted by Jamari Williams on Saturday, July 11, 2015
“#noFlagginchallenge snatch & run LMAO f*** the flag,” the video’s caption says.
In a statement posted to their Facebook page, the Sarasota Police Department said it’s in touch with other law enforcement agencies and encouraged the public to come forward with any information regarding the video.
“The Sarasota Police Department is aware of this video and we are looking into this incident but we have not received any reports of a theft of a flag from a residence,” the statement said. “Also, we do not know exactly where this video occurred & whether it was in our jurisdiction.”
While the Sarasota Police Department has not received any reports of stolen Confederate flags, other law enforcement agencies across the country have, including numerous reports in Anderson County in South Carolina.
Another video, also posted to Facebook, shows a Hispanic man walking through stopped traffic to reach a truck with three large flags flying. The man dramatically rips off two Confederate flags and tosses them to the pavement while the man filming laughs and says “turn up” several times.
The challenge has two hashtags: #noFlagginchallenge and #DestroyConfederateFlag.
There is even an Instagram account apparently dedicated to showing videos of the challenge, including some violent footage.
After the first video went viral, social media erupted to both celebrate and condemn the challenge.
Will the #NoFlagginChallenge become the civil rights Ice Bucket Challenge? Spreading direct action against white supremacy.
— yonatan miller ~Tech (@shushugah) July 12, 2015
— Whyt (@sheDNTtrusthoes) July 12, 2015
This whole #NoFlagginChallenge is just not cool .somebody gonna get hurt or killed … i am sure there must be a better way to make a point
— Tears carpenter (@Tearscarpenter) July 12, 2015
— Kamia Aaliyah (@KamiaAaliyah) July 13, 2015
the #noflagginchallenge funnyAF
— Asani Suhuba (@HeartlessG1) July 13, 2015
Wonder how many people will be shot cause of that #NoFlagginChallenge by the time I wake up tomorrow..At least 13.
— Raz Al-Ghul (@Knight___Hawk) July 13, 2015
— Ethan Sabo (@TGR_EthanSabo) July 13, 2015
It also appears that people have been stealing the flag since before the social media challenge began.
— Indominus Rex (@Aftashok) July 6, 2015
Last month, activist Bree Newsome scaled the flagpole on South Carolina’s Capitol grounds and removed the Confederate flag that hangs above a war memorial before she was promptly arrested.
The Confederate flag has re-emerged as a point of contention across the country since last month’s mass shooting at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, when the white man charged with the slayings was revealed to have posed with the flag in photos prior to the massacre. Last week, the Confederate flag that had flown for decades at South Carolina’s Statehouse was finally removed from the grounds.