Joshuaa Brubaker of Blair County, Pennsylvania has been cited for displaying an upside down American Flag spray-painted with “AIM” across it for what he says was expressing his American Indian heritage beliefs.
According to WPXI, the Allegheny Township police Assistant Chief L.J. Berg who says he was offended by the flag, says several townspeople complained so he went to investigate. Berg told WPXI news, he has taken the flag as evidence, folded it properly and charged Brubaker with desecration and insults to the American flag.
Brubaker has since defended his actions to news sources. He says he did not mean to upset or offend anyone, he and his wife are of American Indian descent and are passionate about the American Indian movement – specifically in the Midwest.
“I found that Wounded Knee is up for sale. Not only privately, but commercially. It’s just not right, and simply because I express myself in a way that somebody else doesn’t like or agree with doesn’t mean I should be persecuted for having beliefs,” Brubaker told WPXI.
Since the incident, a flurry of activity has taken place on Facebook – both for and against Brubaker’s actions, those in support of Brubaker’s actions cite the act is covered by First Amendment rights.
If people lost their lives to protect a piece of cloth (most likely made in China) they are the fools. The lives that were lost to protect our freedom is PRECISELY what enables this man to hang his flag on his home in the way he sees fit. Flags are not worth dying for, Liberty is. How is this difficult to comprehend? Said Valerie Russitano on Facebook.
I am a veteran. I served for that man's right agree and disagree. That flag did not physically harm anyone. I disagree with displaying it like that but he has the right to do so. Just because it differs with the popular opinion does not mean he should be punished. More important issues that need attention than this,” said Michael Rimbeckalso on Facebook.
“Freedom of speech is great, but you can't disrespect the flag,” said Graham Tripp.
Others on Facebook expressed Brubaker should be deported to which others replied you can’t deport an American Indian.
“People have made too many sacrifices to protect the flag and to have this happen in my community, I’m not happy with that,” Berg said to WPXI.
Since Brubaker has since replied that he wished those who were offended would have come so he could have explained his position, the recognition of the incident has since gained the American Civil Liberties Union’s attention.
According to Newsworks, The ACLU says Brubaker who had his American flag seized was merely engaged in legal "political expression."