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ACLU Threatens Lawsuit After Wisconsin Police Seize Man's Upside-Down American Flag

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posted on Jul, 10 2009 @ 08:32 PM
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ACLU Threatens Lawsuit After Wisconsin Police Seize Man's Upside-Down American Flag


www.foxnews.com

An American flag flown upside down as a protest in a northern Wisconsin village was seized by police before a Fourth of July parade and the businessman who flew it — an Iraq war veteran — claims the officers trespassed and stole his property.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin is considering legal action against the village of Crivitz for violating Vito Congine Jr.'s' First Amendment rights, Executive Director Chris Ahmuty said.
(visit the link for the full news article)




posted on Jul, 10 2009 @ 08:32 PM
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I thought it was ok to fly the American flag upside down, when in distress.

Now at debate here, is whether one can actually justify if/when one is actually in distress.

According to this story, it sounds as though he defined himself being under distress because of a local argument with his city hall. Not sure if "distress" actually holds up here or not.

But should the police have confiscated the flag? Do they have the legal right to do so?

www.foxnews.com
(visit the link for the full news article)



posted on Jul, 10 2009 @ 09:07 PM
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Well, the ACLU got something right, for once in a while. I think an Iraqi war veteran just might have an idea about distress caused by our government.



posted on Jul, 10 2009 @ 09:12 PM
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It is unlawful.

§ 176. Respect for flag: No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America; the flag should not be dipped to any person or thing. Regimental colors, State flags, and organization or institutional flags are to be dipped as a mark of honor.

(a) The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.

www.americanlegion298.org...

Without extreme danger it is either disrespect or a false alarm.

[edit on 7/10/2009 by Phage]



posted on Jul, 10 2009 @ 10:56 PM
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What I don't get is that it's legal to burn a flag, but not to fly one upside down. Both, in my opinion should be covered by the First Amendment. If for no other reason than there's better things to be using law enforcement/judicial system resources for.


TA



posted on Jul, 10 2009 @ 11:07 PM
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reply to post by Phage
 


I'm sorry but this nation is in Dire Distress and to fly the flag in this manner is a sign to the rest of us that this is the case. All cases of law violation depend on intent and if this mans intent was to signify the idea that something must be done to save the country then it will be hard to convict this man should they ever go back and arrest him after he pursues a suit for violating his First and Fourth amendment rights!

Zindo

[edit on 7/10/2009 by ZindoDoone]



posted on Jul, 10 2009 @ 11:32 PM
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reply to post by TheAssociate
 

Burning of the flag is not specified as disrespect in the Flag code. That's why there is such an argument about it.



posted on Jul, 10 2009 @ 11:34 PM
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reply to post by ZindoDoone
 

Nice sentiment. Still unlawful.
But that's not what he was doing.

He said his distress is likely bankruptcy because the village board refused to grant him a liquor license after he spent nearly $200,000 to buy and remodel a downtown building for an Italian supper club.

news.yahoo.com...

He was apparently a bone. who didn't bother to look into obtaining a permit before he spent a lot of money. Doesn't qualify as extreme danger.

Though he could have been, he wasn't charged with anything. They removed his flag and later returned it.

[edit on 7/10/2009 by Phage]



posted on Jul, 10 2009 @ 11:42 PM
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Let's not forget that this is not Federal Government that is refusing to give him a license, It's local city government. I'm very glad that PHAGE posted the law concerning the American Flag. This guy is not in dire distress, he's miffed that he can't get a license, and he's deep in debt. NOT WHAT DISPLAYING THE FLAG UPSIDE DOWN WAS MEANT FOR!



posted on Jul, 10 2009 @ 11:48 PM
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My point is that flying the flag upside down (or however you please) should be protected by the First Amendment. I realize that it isn't, and that's my major concern in this issue. Then again, I'm a stickler for freedom of speech/expression. I understand that not everyone feels the same as I do on the subject, and I'm okay with that because I respect their right to say whatever they please.


TA



posted on Jul, 10 2009 @ 11:54 PM
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reply to post by TheAssociate
 

The First Amendment does not give you the right to yell fire in a theater. The flag code is not unconstitutional (on this point anyway). There is one legal reason to fly the flag upside down.

[edit on 7/10/2009 by Phage]



posted on Jul, 11 2009 @ 12:02 AM
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reply to post by Phage
 





The flag code is not unconstitutional


Didn't say it is. I was implying that it should be changed so that flying a flag however you want is protected under the First Amendment. Sorry if my statement wasn't clear.


TA



posted on Jul, 11 2009 @ 12:17 AM
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Originally posted by Phage
reply to post by TheAssociate
 

The First Amendment does not give you the right to yell fire in a theater. The flag code is not unconstitutional (on this point anyway). There is one legal reason to fly the flag upside down.

[edit on 7/10/2009 by Phage]


That is totally silly.

You are comparing apples and oranges.

You guys crack me up...

Vas



posted on Jul, 11 2009 @ 12:26 AM
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reply to post by Phage
 


There is no penalty nor punishment for not following the flag code. It is a guide an nothing more.

I personally feel the nation is in a dire situation, with some days causing a sense of extreme danger to my life and property in a medium to long term sense. I don't fly the flag upside down though. But I think such action, even something as disrespectful as burning the flag in protest, should not be prohibited, and I am a veteran, in the VFW and American Legion.

One big thing with this story, is the cops have no authority to confiscate his flag simply for it being displayed as such. As far as the claim that it is illegal to cause a disruption, that is a trumped up charge. I guarantee that you can walk anywhere in that town, see a business, residence, newspaper article or any number of other things that could be considered disruptive. Hell, with police and a DA like that, as a citizen I would find there presence disruptive to good law and order. Perhaps they should all be continually cited.

edit: any penalties and punishments for not adhering to the flag code are left to the state. In Wisconsin, it was decided in State vs Janssen in 1998 that while morally despicable, such things are free speech.

[edit on 11-7-2009 by Wolf321]



posted on Jul, 11 2009 @ 12:44 AM
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reply to post by MOFreemason
 


Well they could have arressted him for violating the flag laws instead and then they wouldn't have to worry about the ACLU.

Look the guy was wrong, he flew the flag in a way that means he is in distress and needs help. He was in no danger, he was just PO'd at the village officials for refusing to grant him the licence. IMO he's lucky that all they did was take his flag away for a day.



posted on Jul, 11 2009 @ 12:51 AM
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Originally posted by Phage
reply to post by TheAssociate
 

Burning of the flag is not specified as disrespect in the Flag code. That's why there is such an argument about it.


also... flags are burned ceremoniously upon retirement. it is actually the proper way to despose of a fatigued flag.

even displaying a dirty flag can be construed as disrespectful.



posted on Jul, 11 2009 @ 12:52 AM
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reply to post by Vasilis Azoth
 

Personally I really don't give a damn what he did with the flag but to turn this into a "free speech" issue is stupid (of course, the ACLU loves it). It's a tempest in a teapot. It wasn't a protest. The guy didn't get a liquor license so he flies his American flag upside down claiming "distress"? He was sniveling about something he brought on himself, not protesting.



posted on Jul, 11 2009 @ 01:02 AM
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Most of the Indians are pretty darn friendly now that their Casinos are up and running in taking in big bucks. Enterprising folks now aren't they?

I must say though, in my younger years I have been on some land in places in the United States where...honestly it's comforting to know that flying a Flag upside down will get you an armed cavalry rushing in to save you.

Honestly that tribe...has not opened any gambling ventures yet!

I really don't want to be sitting their having to impersonate Custard because some whiner or collection of them can't sieze on a more effective action other than destroying another sacred institution.

Ultimately if flying the flag upside down does not get you an immediate tactical armed response team and effort looking to rescue you from violence and likely immenent death you defeat the whole purpose of it in and when real armed conflict breaks out.

Thomas Payne managed to make original political statements that created and not destroyed something...anyone else who is really serious should too.

People should only fly the flag upside down when they need the calvary to come in guns a blazin.

Shame on the ACLU and that man.

How sad.



posted on Jul, 11 2009 @ 01:12 AM
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reply to post by ProtoplasmicTraveler
 


You do bring up a good point. Aside from the action of the DA and police, this case shows something I have been suggesting for a while, that you can disagree with government policy, operation, or 'guy' in charge, but that doesn't translate to the flag itself, and is thus not even a remotely good way to protest, or speak out.

I think as a legitimate sign of distress, that would only be interpreted/accepted from an official entity such as military base, state or local gov facility. Now-a-days, distant homesteads and such don't need a flag to communicate such a message.

It would be nice if an inverted flag did bring about the reaction you describe, because I would point them to Washington D.C. and a scream 'save us!', but alas, the group that would show up would be the ones we need saving from.



posted on Jul, 11 2009 @ 01:33 AM
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Woooah…
Phage might actually be incorrect for the first time in all of his posts I have read. Sorry phage…


A Congressional Research Service American Law Division report to Congress in April described the U.S. Flag Code as "a codification of customs and rules established for the use of certain civilians and civilian groups. No penalty or punishment is specified ... for display of the flag ... in a manner other than as suggested. Cases ... have concluded that the Flag Code ... is merely declaratory and advisory."


Wolf is actually correct on this one. They are a set of guidelines, and the police need to start butting out on this one, because unless there is a local law countermanding this, there is no penalty for doing anything you wish with the flag.

The real reason that we are seeing an upswing in police attacking incorrect flag displays is due to the number of vets returning from Iraq and working for police departments.

Not that I agree with disrespecting the flag, but there really is no law against it as it falls under your first amendment rights.




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