Somerville police have identified the man who allegedly urinated on American flags in Somerville Veterans Memorial Cemetery on Sept. 10, and he’s now facing related charges.
Michael C. Lacey is being charged with open and gross lewdness, vandalizing a gravestone, and disturbing the peace, according to Somerville District Court.
A warrant for his arrest was issued on Sept. 13. He has yet to appear in court, according to court records.
The incident was documented by George Gatteny, who said he witnessed the crime and reported it to police. Gatteny took to Facebook the day it happened and posted what he said he saw, along with photos of Lacey and the aftermath of what happened.
He updated his post on Sept. 20, noting that the woman seen in a couple of the photos was working with the police.
“She also corroborated my account of the incident,” Gatteny wrote.
Gatteny’s initial post sparked outrage online. It had over 28,000 comments, 60,000 shares, and 57,000 reactions as of Friday afternoon.
According to the police report, the woman — who isn’t facing charges and hasn’t been publicly identified, the Globe reports — told police that Lacey pulled the flags from the ground, “made some type of anti-government type comment,” and urinated.
Somerville police had said the blond man seen in Gatteny’s photos — now identified as Lacey, according to the Globe — was a “person of interest” in the case back on Sept. 12.
The Somerville Veterans Services Department condemned the incident on Facebook, noting that the cemetery has veterans killed in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and Beirut in 1982.
In a subsequent post, the Veterans Services Department thanked a group of volunteers for power washing the World War II monument in the cemetery.