Niceville Man Arrested For Battery in Dispute Over Pride Flags

In Brief:

  • Niceville Police arrested Michael McLeod for battery after he was accused of stealing LGBTQ+ flags, leading to a confrontation with activist Sunny Barbee.
  • The incident, captured on video, showed McLeod threatening Barbee and physically attacking her, prompting police intervention.
  • McLeod remains in custody awaiting a hearing, while the Niceville community prepares for the Pride Day event despite the tensions.

Niceville Police arrested 43-year-old Niceville resident Michael McLeod for battery after an incident in front of Niceville High School, which began when Niceville PFLAG activists accused him of stealing flags representing the LGBTQ+ community that were planted along the parade route planned for the Niceville Pride Day for June 1.


The incident began when LGBTQ+ activist Sunny Barbee says she saw McLeod taking the flags planted along the parade route for June 1’s Pride Day walk.  


Barbee says she pulled over to the side of the road and, because of traffic’s din on John Sims Parkway, yelled at McLeod to stop picking up the flags on the side of the road.


She claims McLeod told her if she left her car, he would “deck” her.


Barbee left her car and pulled out her phone to record. You can watch the video here. She continued to film as the confrontation continued. In the video, you can see McLeod swinging a box and hear the impact of someone or something crashing into Barbee. She accuses him of stealing, he tells her that “No I’m not, I’m cleaning up trash.”


McLeod, who lists his employment on LinkedIn as a Letter Carrier at the United States Postal Service, could be heard accusing members of PFLAG of “grooming” while attempting to walk away with the flags.


RELATED: Pride Day Compared to Ku Klux Klan Rally By Local Religious Leader


Photos given to Mid Bay News show McLeod’s arrest from several vantage points.


Barbee says she had called the non-emergency line to the Niceville Police Department before the incident when she initially saw McLeod pulling up flags.


They arrived on the scene immediately after an Okaloosa Sheriff’s deputy, who Barbee says told her to leave the scene.


Barbee then says the Niceville Police Officers arrested McLeod after they watched the video Barbee recorded on her phone. She says the whole incident is disheartening – except the response from the police. “It was really impressive how the Niceville Police handled the situation. I thought they were really professional,” Barbee said.


She added that the incident made her anxious about attending the Pride Day tomorrow, but she’ll still attend. “We need people standing up and saying things like this and, ‘ This is not okay. Because there are more of us, I truly believe. There’s more allies, because we all know somebody in the LGBTQ community, whether they’re related to us, somebody, we work with somebody, we’re friends with. Somebody we admire, or whatever, like, we know, somebody, everybody knows somebody in this.”


A release from PFLAG hit news service inboxes Friday night. “PFLAG Niceville is grateful to the Niceville Police Department for being on the side of justice. They recovered many of the stolen flags, although they will now no longer be along the route of the Pride Walk tomorrow,” President of Niceville PFLAG Dr. David Simmons wrote in a press release.


The release added that two men in cars “held up handfuls of other stolen pride flags, yelled homophobic slurs, and drove off.”


According to Okaloosa County Jail records, McLeod is currently awaiting a hearing. No bond amount has been recorded. Judges do not work weekends, so he will not be out in time for Pride Day festivities on June 1.

Download our app to stay in the know about niceville

Support local news. get cool stuff.

We’ve never needed local news more than we have today. With newspapers going out of business and fewer reporters around to watchdog local government, cover events or sports, and make sure you know what’s going on in your community


Donate today to keep local, independent and accountable journalism in your community today


Plus, we’ll give you some cool swag when you make your donation monthly

Keep Up With Niceville News

Stop scrolling social media to find out what’s going on in Niceville. Sign up for our weekly newsletter for the info impacting your daily life!

Boat on a Bayou