Saturday, July 11, 2009

Protests nor Upside Down Flags Aren't Illegal

A man in a small Wisconsin town is flying the American flag upside down in protest of the city's refusal to give him a liquor license. An upside down flag is a distress signal. The man says he is in distress because he will soon go bankrupt. See this article on Yahoo.

Prior to July 4th, the city police went onto his property, apparently without a warrant, and removed the flag. The police said that flying the flag is not illegal, but creating a disturbance is. Just what kind of disturbance he was creating was never explained. Some of the town's people were upset over the flag, so I suppose that was the "disturbance."

This is definitely a First Amendment issue and the ACLU is considering a lawsuit on his behalf. Seizing private property without a warrant is illegal. Although the flag was returned the next day, that does not right a wrong. The police would certainly say that if tomorrow I returned money that I stole today.

I hope the ACLU files the suit, and I hope it costs the City of Crivitz a good sum of money in the end. Maybe then the police and the District Attorney, who advised them, will learn the value of respecting the Constitution. There is always a right way and a wrong way to approach a problem. This was the Bush/Cheney way and, of course, the wrong way. It may have been that a simple request to take the flag down or change its orientation during the holiday might have solved the problem. Police-state tactics are not the solution.


That Baptist Ain't Right said...

Right on. This is like flag burning --- as distasteful as it is, the right must be protected lest we give up that right in total. And one day, we may wish we could protest in such a fashion because our gov't is corrupt beyond repair.

Diane J Standiford said...

Insane. Have we lost all reason?