Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Couple Terrorized, Assaulted and Arrested For Flying an Upside Down U.S. Flag

This is just ridiculous...
Charges against an Asheville couple mark the first use of a 90-year-old North Carolina law on desecration of the American flag since the Vietnam War era, a state court official said Thursday.
this despite the fact that anyone who remotely pays attention knows the Supreme Court says it is perfectly legal to desecrate the flag. for this reason alone the deputy should be punished, the case dropped and damages payed to the Kuhns.This is what comes from changing protect and serve to telling police their job is to control civilians.
The Kuhns, who where hanging an upside-down American flag with signs attached to it on their front porch, said they flew the flag to protest the state of the country. An upside-down flag is recognized as a distress signal. The Kuhns said the signs pinned to the flag were to explain why they were displaying the flag upside down along with a photo of President Bush with “out now” written on it.

Sheriff’s reports show Scarborough, 25, told the couple they were illegally displaying the flag and told Mark Kuhn he would be ticketed. When asked for identification, Kuhn allegedly refused, slammed the door on the deputy’s hand and broke a glass pane, which cut Scarborough’s hand, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

However, the Kuhns said when they closed and locked the door, Scarborough intentionally broke the glass, unlocked the door and entered their home to place the Kuhns under arrest. The Sheriff’s Office said the Kuhns attacked Scarborough by hitting him in neck and face. The Kuhns have denied that allegation.

U.S. Supreme Court decisions in 1989 and 1990, which protected flag desecration as a form of expressive conduct under the First Amendment, raise questions as to the legality of the North Carolina law.[snip]

state law prohibits anyone from knowingly mutilating, defiling, defacing or trampling the U.S. or North Carolina flags. The Sheriff’s Office has said the Kuhns desecrated the flag by pinning signs to it, not by flying it upside down.

The Sheriff’s Office will conduct an internal review to determine whether the Deputy Brian Scarborough was right in personally taking action on the complaint, Sheriff Van Duncan said. The usual procedure is to refer the complaint to Asheville police, he said.

“It’s an unfortunate situation involving a very emotional issue,” Duncan said. “But we are going to review it.”

The deputy appeared to have acted correctly after he arrived at the Kuhns’ home, Duncan said.

“If someone is being issued a citation, they must provide ID,” he said.

The arrests came less than a week after Asheville police responded to a separate complaint about the Kuhns’ flag. No citations were issued, and no report was filed, police have said.

Ellis said the only other two flag desecration cases he could find mentioned in state records took place during the Vietman War era — another time when tensions were high over America’s involvement in a war. At least one of those charges was later dropped, Ellis said.
But there is a 911 tape...
They were released from jail Wednesday afternoon. The Kuhns said they were assaulted by the deputy.

Deborah Kuhn told a 911 dispatcher that Scarborough “has broken into our home and is violating our rights.”
and you can listen to the call here.
Mark and Deborah Kuhn were arrested on two counts of assault on a government employee, resisting arrest and a rarely used charge, desecrating an American flag, all misdemeanors. The Kuhns were released from custody Wednesday afternoon.

“This is surreal,” Deborah Kuhn, 52, said moments after her son Mark Stidham paid $1,500 bond to get the couple out of jail.[snip]

A lawyer representing an Asheville couple arrested on charges including flag desecration said Friday he would ask a judge to drop the case.

“We would plead not guilty when it comes up for trial and then make a motion to dismiss,” said Bruce Elmore, an Asheville lawyer and president of the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina.[snip]

The comments started as soon as the story hit CITIZEN-TIMES.com. The first two set the stage.

“I think the officer should have left the situation alone. Visual representations don’t hurt anyone, and the law is incredibly stupid anyway,” the second one replied.

By the end of the day, readers had posted more than 500 messages on the Web site’s forum to weigh in on the story of Mark and Deborah Kuhn, an Asheville couple charged with two counts of misdemeanor assault on a government employee, resisting arrest and the rarely used charge of desecrating an American flag.
As far as I am concerned this is police brutality and a violation of their Constitutional free speech rights and I have the Supreme Court on my side. Again people, you have no right not to be offended.

Hat Tip: Freedom Fighter Radio

Sources:
The Citizen-Times
Citizens-Times II
Citizen-Times III
Citizen-Times readers reaction

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