Man Arrested For Burning Flag Gets $15K In Settlement, Then Again Posts Photo Of Burning Flag
By Stephen Gossett in News on Sep 19, 2017 10:39PM
An Illinois man will be awarded thousands of dollars after he settled his lawsuit against the Urbana Police Department, which arrested him last year after he posted a photo of himself burning the American flag. After the settlement, he again shared on social media a photo of himself with the flag on fire.
Bryton Mellott, Urbana, will receive $15,000, plus an additional $20,000 for legal fees in the settlement, the AP reports. Mellott—who was represented by the American Civil Liberties Union—was arrested on July 4 of last year. He was reportedly detained for five hours, but charges were not filed. Mellott sued the department's four arresting officers.
He posted the photo of himself on Facebook holding the flag ablaze on July 3, 2016 with the hashtag #youbetterburnthatflag. It has been shared more than 20,000 times. He also reportedly wrote he's "not proud to be an American," mentioning "atrocities" committed against minorities, though those words seem to have been edited.
Mellott was arrested under the Illinois' flag desecration law, but those state laws were essentially rendered obsolete when the Supreme Court ruled in 1989 that the act falls under the category of protected free speech, in Texas v. Johnson.
In the wake of the settlement on Monday, Mellot again posted a photo that appeared to show him holding a burning flag, with the words "eff ur flag."