19 Ocak 2017 Perşembe Breaking News             Latest US News            New York

UPMC inks deal with Robert Morris
A 22-year-old central Illinois man who was arrested and detained after posting online pictures of himself burning an American flag has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to have the state's flag desecration law declared unconstitutional.Such state laws are...

Central Illinois man files lawsuit over flag burning arrest

A 22-year-old central Illinois man who was arrested and detained after posting online pictures of himself burning an American flag has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to have the state's flag desecration law declared unconstitutional.Such state laws are...

Central Illinois man files lawsuit over flag burning arrest

A 22-year-old central Illinois man who was arrested and detained after posting online pictures of himself burning an American flag has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to have the state's flag desecration law declared unconstitutional.

Such state laws are already invalid after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled separately, in 1989 and 1990, that flag burning and other forms of damage are constitutionally protected free speech. However, dozens of states still have the laws.

Police in Urbana used Illinois' flag desecration law to arrest local resident Bryton Mellott on July 4 of last year. He said he carefully planned his demonstration to protest racial discrimination, poverty and other injustices, and then posted six photographs of his actions on Facebook. The posts, which generated hundreds of comments, led police officers to arrest Mellott while he worked at Wal-Mart and detain him for several hours. He was released without being charged.

Bryton Mellott Champaign County sheriff's office

Bryton Mellott was arrested on charges including flag desecration after his flag-burning protest.

Bryton Mellott was arrested on charges including flag desecration after his flag-burning protest.

(Champaign County sheriff's office)

Mellott, who is being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, was expected to discuss the lawsuit at a Thursday news conference in Champaign. The suit was filed late Wednesday.

"Open dissent is the highest form of American patriotism," Mellott said in a statement. "And it was a frightening display of irony that on the Fourth of July I should be taken from my workplace to sit in a county jail for exercising this liberty."

Arrests on flag desecration laws are rare.

Still, experts say states have been reluctant to repeal such laws either because it's politically unpalatable or it hasn't been priority. About 40 states have flag desecration laws and only a handful have changed them. Wisconsin's flag desecration law was knocked down by the state Supreme Court in the 1990s and removed. Missouri's was repealed effective this month after a long court battle prompted by a similar lawsuit.

The Illinois case comes as the issue has been in the headlines. President-elect Donald Trump recently said that anyone who burns an American flag should face "consequences," like jail or a loss of citizenship, despite the Supreme Court determinations.

Trump tweet suggests criminalizing flag desecration, sparks debate Marwa Eltagouri and Vikki Ortiz Healy

Nearly three decades ago, Chicago found itself part of a growing national debate: whether desecrating the American flag should be an illegal act.

It was 1989, and a young art student named Dread Scott, who studied at the School of the Art Institute, exhibited an artwork that invited people to walk...

Nearly three decades ago, Chicago found itself part of a growing national debate: whether desecrating the American flag should be an illegal act.

It was 1989, and a young art student named Dread Scott, who studied at the School of the Art Institute, exhibited an artwork that invited people to walk...

(Marwa Eltagouri and Vikki Ortiz Healy)

The lawsuit, filed late Wednesday, names several police officers. Urbana police have said that they arrested Mellott to protect him from possible backlash from the online posts. An Urbana Police Department spokesman didn't immediately return a message seeking comment.

Attorneys for the ACLU said one of their main goals was to provide clarity for authorities.

"It's very clear that this law is unconstitutional and we want to make sure that in the future, Illinois law enforcement officers know that they cannot arrest people under this statute," ACLU attorney Rebecca Glenberg said.

Mellott also seeks unspecified damages.

Associated Press

Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.

Breaking News Headlines

Trump Inauguration Day Speech: Twitter Trolls President-Elect's Photo Of Him Writing Speech
Trump Inauguration Day Speech: Twitter Trolls President-Elect's Photo Of Him Writing Speech
Who Is Sonny Perdue? Donald Trump Expected To Name Former Georgia Governor As Agriculture Secretary For His Cabinet
Who Is Sonny Perdue? Donald Trump Expected To Name Former Georgia Governor As Agriculture Secretary For His Cabinet
India Bus Accident 2017: Over Dozen Children In Uttar Pradesh Killed In Road Accident
India Bus Accident 2017: Over Dozen Children In Uttar Pradesh Killed In Road Accident
Satellite tracking to keep tabs on airliners over oceans
Satellite tracking to keep tabs on airliners over oceans
Trump's Treasury pick facing criticism over foreclosures
Trump's Treasury pick facing criticism over foreclosures
World shares mixed, Japan's Nikkei gains on weaker yen
World shares mixed, Japan's Nikkei gains on weaker yen
Will North Korea Attack US? Pyongyang's ICBM Test May Coincide With Trump Inauguration, Report Says
Will North Korea Attack US? Pyongyang's ICBM Test May Coincide With Trump Inauguration, Report Says
Pokémon Go Made Over $2,400 Per Minute In 2016: Study
Pokémon Go Made Over $2,400 Per Minute In 2016: Study
‘Lucifer’ Season 2 Spoilers: Did Charlotte Hypnotize Chloe Into Making A Move On Lucifer In Episode 12?
‘Lucifer’ Season 2 Spoilers: Did Charlotte Hypnotize Chloe Into Making A Move On Lucifer In Episode 12?
Asian shares mixed, Japan's Nikkei gains on weaker yen
Asian shares mixed, Japan's Nikkei gains on weaker yen
6 cool new gadgets at the NAMM show in Anaheim
6 cool new gadgets at the NAMM show in Anaheim
McAvoy riveting in 'Split'
McAvoy riveting in 'Split'
NEWS ARCHIVES