Lubbock Police confirmed Monday morning that someone hung an unauthorized banner atop the Citizens Tower (formerly known as the Omni Building) in downtown Lubbock.
The black banner had Arabic writing and a red heart.
David Villarreal, Director of the Language Laboratory at Texas Tech said the sign translates to “love for everyone.”
“You see a black flag with white writing and automatically people are going to assume that it’s ISIS related,” he said. “[But] when you don’t have all the information at the beginning you should always side on the side of caution because it is better to be safe than sorry.”
Villarreal said he approved of the message, but argued the approach could have been more appropriate.
“I think it’s a very good message. I don’t know who did it and it was probably illegal to do something like that but you know ‘love for everyone’ means that it’s someone who wants to unite people,” Villarreal explained. “It is a good message but to do it legally would be the best option.”
Lubbock officials were aware of the banner but were not able to provide details of who put the banner up or exactly when. The city purchased the building last year and is in the process of renovating it.
Lubbock Police Lieutenant Ray Mendoza said the department was investigating the incident as “trespassing.”
City Manager James Loomis said he did not know how anyone was able to get inside the building and hang the flag.
“At this point, we are investigating it,” he said.
Mayor Glen Robertson said in a brief email statement to EverythingLubbock.com, “It is premature to come to conclusions before we can gather more facts but I believe that we must take this situation seriously in light of current National and International events.”
Mayor Robertson sent the following email to City Manger James Loomis Monday morning.
It has been brought to my attention that an Arabic flag has been hung from one of the upper floors of the Omni building. I am requesting that the flag be removed immediately, that we get an accurate translation of the flag, and that Chief Stevens notify the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and our Lubbock County Sheriff’s Department. I am also requesting that we take whatever steps are necessary to secure the building and ensure that this does not happen again. I fully understand that we must gather more facts before we make a knee jerk reaction but I am concerned on several levels. Please keep me informed as we learn more about this situation.