YORK Co., Va. - A Virginia man was arrested on the Fourth of July after taking an American flag out of his car and lighting it on fire in a Walmart parking lot, the York-Poquoson Sheriff's Office said.
In a video taken by Walmart manager Jay Weirich, Mitchell Lee Stauffer is seen taking the flag out of the trunk of his car at the store on George Washington Memorial Highway. Moments later, he lights the flag on fire.
After yelling a few obscenities, Stauffer got into his car and drove away.
"He was not arrested for his First Amendment Right to burn the flag, but for burning an object in a public place with the intent to intimidate," the sheriff's office wrote on Facebook.
"The burning of our great American Flag is very offensive to most people including me. That being said, the courts have ruled that act alone is an expression of free speech and not per se illegal. This charge is appropriate under the Code of Virginia. It is fortunate that no one was injured today."
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