UPDATE: Urbana flag-burner won't be charged

UPDATE: Urbana flag-burner won't be charged

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1 p.m. Tuesday

In a release, the Urbana Police Department says it respects that Champaign County State's Attorney Julia Rietz will not charge Urbana's Bryton Mellott in Monday's flag-burning incident.

"Laws dealing with questions of Constitutional rights are extremely complex," the release said. "The Urbana Police Department recognizes that this is a case where the right of free speech may have been in conflict with the safety of innocent and uninvolved citizens. Our officers strive every day to achieve a balance between public safety and preservation of Constitutional rights. In this circumstance, our officers acted in good faith and in reliance on a state law that was passed by our legislature in an attempt to do just that. We respect the analysis of the State’s Attorney’s Office and their determination not to proceed with the prosecution in this matter."

12:15 p.m. Tuesday

Champaign County State's Attorney Julia Rietz said today that the man arrested on July 4 after a flag-burning Facebook post will not be charged.

"The State's Attorney's Office is declining to file charges against (Bryton) Mellott as the act of burning a flag is protected free speech according to the US Supreme Court decision, Texas v. Johnson, 491 US 397 (1989)," Rietz said in a statement.

"We have considered 720 ILCS 5/49-1, Flag Desecration, an Illinois statute currently in effect," the statement reads. "This statute was the basis for the decision by Urbana Police officers to arrest Mellott. While that statute remains in effect, it is contradictory to the US Supreme Court ruling in Texas v. Johnson.  We will be discussing this issue with our local legislators and asking that they consider reviewing this statute given the constitutional issues it presents."


URBANA — Within hours of a Fourth of July Facebook post showing him burning an American flag, a 22-year-old Urbana man found himself under arrest and under fire — from all corners of the Internet.

By Monday night, Bryton Mellott’s booking mug and the text of his posting — which began with “I am not proud to be an American” and closed with “#ArrestMe” — had been seen by thousands and commented on by hundreds of people on social media.

Dozens of websites shared the details of the posting, from mainstream ones like Forbes.com to others, like ilgunrights.com, that ridiculed the Wal-Mart employee.

It was when some of the most threatening comments started mentioning Mellott’s employer that authorities say they decided to take action.

People are free to make inflammatory comments that put themselves at risk, Urbana Sgt. Andrew Charles said Monday, but when they put others at risk who have no say, it becomes a law enforcement matter.

The threatening tone of much of the feedback online — which Urbana police first learned about after getting multiple calls as early as 7 a.m. Monday — is what led them to arrest Mellott under an Illinois state statute concerning flag desecration, Charles told The News-Gazette.

Later Monday in a statement, Urbana police said “the volume of responses and specificity of threat against his place of employment (a location where an act of violence would likely cause harm to others), prompted police involvement in this case.”

The statement went on to say that “Urbana Police urge the public to express themselves in a peaceful way and to not retaliate against unpopular speech.”

The police report listed Mellott as an offender of both flag desecration and disorderly conduct, as well as a victim of disorderly conduct.

Following his arrest, Urbana police consulted with the Champaign County State’s Attorney’s office, after which Mellott was released from custody and given a notice to appear in court.

Late Monday afternoon, State’s Attorney Julia Reitz said she had not yet received any official report on the incident, other than what she’d seen on social media.

She said flag desecration laws have been found unconstitutional, but her office would review police reports when they arrived.

Before arresting him, Charles said police spoke with Mellott and his employer. He said Mellott was told police “understood his freedom of speech” but were concerned for his safety and believed his posts were putting others at risk.

Following their conversation, Mellott continued similar posts to Facebook, Charles said, so police arrested him.

“We are trying to ensure his safety as much as we can and (Wal-Mart’s) business, too,” Charles said.
The photo that sparked the outrage early Monday was accompanied by a three-paragraph posting. It read: “I am not proud to be an American. In this moment, being proud of my country is to ignore the atrocities committed against people of color, people living in poverty, people who identify as women, and against my own queer community on a daily basis.

“I would like to one day feel a sense of pride toward my nationality again. But too little progress has been made. Too many people still suffer at the hands of politicians influenced by special interests. Too many people are still being killed and brutalized by a police force plagued with authority complexes and racism. Too many people are allowed to be slaughtered for the sake of gun manufacturer profits. Too many Americans hold hate in their hearts in the name of their religion, and for fear of others. And that’s only to speak of domestic issues.

“I do not have pride in my country. I am overwhelmingly ashamed, and I will demonstrate my feelings accordingly. #ArrestMe.”

Attempts to reach Mellott on Monday were unsuccessful. 

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Bulldogmojo wrote on July 04, 2016 at 5:07 pm


Flag burning is free speech!!

How do we have a flag desecration law still on the books in Illinois?

Here's a thought Arrest the people making threats!

Where do I send money for this Mellott's legal defense against this ridiculous intrusion on his constitutional rights to exercise free speech by Julia Reitz' office of incompetence? Seriously WHERE?

All I ask is if you burn an American flag make sure it was one made IN AMERICA so you can be a job creator while you are protesting the dishonesty that goes on with our leadership.

Get over your crybaby attachments to symbolism as if they contain supernatural powers. UGH!

Stop worshiping fabric and start thinking!!!!!!!!!!!!

rsp wrote on July 04, 2016 at 6:07 pm

If you reread the story, her office asked for him to be released. Part of the reason he was picked up was for his safety. He is being threatened. The ignorance is astounding. People don't know what freedom means, think people went to war and died so we should give up rights. Thinking is hard.

Joe American wrote on July 04, 2016 at 7:07 pm

Who doesn't know what freedom means? He has the freedom to be an idiot, and those whom he offends have the freedom to let him know about it.

Hotdog.1234 wrote on July 07, 2016 at 7:07 am
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    I agree with Joe. He's barely out of diapers and he's free to be an idiot. That's the beauty of living in America where people like my family members go overseas for a year or more at a time and and stand up to nuts like like Sadam Husain and Osama Bin Ladin and the taliban and Isis, while while their children and wife and daughter and mother and father and sister and aunts and uncles and cousins all jump carry around their phones everyday and literally jump every time that ring. These are the the families who would rather that the phone ring because if the doorbell rings they know that they are never gonna see their loved ones face again or hear their loved ones voice again or kiss their loved ones cheek. And their loved one is not over there facing those crazy people because they want to be, they are over facing those crazies, head on, to make this country safer for you and for me and even for this idiot that wants to run around and burn our nation's flag because he's just not happy with the way things are going in America. Well, I'm sorry Bryton, (I'm also sorry if I did not spell your name right), I have one child your age, 2 older than you, and several more that are younger than you and I believe that your problem is that you need a good old fashioned butt whooping! That is the problem with your entire, entitled generation , or quite a bit of it anyway. If you are not happy with the way things are going in your community/state/country, why don't you become a catalyst for change? i have run out of space so I will continue in a 2nd letter!

Hotdog.1234 wrote on July 07, 2016 at 7:07 am
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Did burning that flag make any of your arguments change? I don't think so. You gained 15 minutes of fame and possibly a check from the city if your lucky, as well as many death threats for yourself and your innocent co-workers, who, in my opinion, did not ask to be put in danger by you, and you were extremely selfish for posting your place of employment and refusing to remove it when asked by the authorities to just take it down. As far as some of the posts below, although federal law will always win out, Illinois does have a law currently on the books, passed a few years back, that makes it a Class 4 Felony to desicrate in any way, a United States of America flag and the states attorney and especially the UPD were well within the law to arrest this young man for burning the flag here in Illinois and it would be up to him to take it to the Supreme Appellete Court after his conviction if he so chose to. That's what would have happened if I had been the states attorney. I would have should up for the police officers who keep this community safe everyday. I see that some of you below have different ideas and that's why this country is so great, we are free to have our own opinions and ideas! Think about this one though, whether they took this kid into custody for his safety, for his co-workers safety, for the publics safety, because he was breaking the law, or for all of the above, the Urbana Police Department has a pretty darn good police force! i ran out of space again!

Hotdog.1234 wrote on July 07, 2016 at 8:07 am
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I've lived in this community for many decades and traveled all over the country and can honestly say that they are one of the best forces that I e seen anywhere, but if you have such a problem with the way the do things then do not call them when you have a problem! I see so many people talk down on the police but as soon as someone breaks in their house they grab the phone and call 911 or someone kidnaps their child, 911 please help me, but last week the police were all such bad people because they stopped me for speeding and I just know they did it because I happen to be African American (which I am), even though they only gave me a warning. You can't have it both ways everyone and Bryton! Either be part of the problem or be part of the solution! Which is why I choose #AllLivesMatter instead of #BlackLivesMatter. I am a human being just like everyone else one this forum. I was born in America but I'm sure I can trace my ancestory all over the globe just like everyone else can and I'll bet anyone on here a $1000 that if we both cut ourselves right now that our blood will come out the same color, whether our skin matches or not! We need to stop all of this stupidity and help each other, our fellow HUMAN BEINGS, because when it comes down to it, you are not better than me and I am not better than you and they are not better than us. We should only judge our fellow human beings on actions not skin colors. All of this hatred that comes out of everyone needs to END before it brings an end to earth! I think I'm done, I know I'm a bit long winded, I'm happy to reply to anyone who wants to speak to me like an adult!

sprk1 wrote on July 06, 2016 at 8:07 am

To suggest that the police violated his rights and took his freedom to protect him is rediculous! If False arrest, false improsinment and malicious prosecution are your idea of a favor, Then I would hate to see your idea of punishment

Hotdog.1234 wrote on July 07, 2016 at 8:07 am
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He was not falsely arrested, it is a Class 4 felony in Illinois to burn the flag, and he will not be charged, which is the title of this article. In fact the taxpayers of Urbana will probably end up having to write him a big fat check even though the police did NOTHING wrong, but the states attorney is too chicken to stand up for them and the citizens of Urbana.

chambanabanana wrote on July 06, 2016 at 12:07 pm

Are you saying we should be thankful that we are so free, that if the police decide we are in danger, they are allowed to come scoop us up, ARREST US, and hold us until the danger has passed??!


No, that is insanity. These cops should be charged, they knew this arrest wasn't going to stand and did it anyway to prove a point to this kid.


Reading the story and then reading what he posted along with the photo makes this even more sad and ironic that once again cops couldn't rise above

Hotdog.1234 wrote on July 07, 2016 at 8:07 am
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Wow, please don't ever call the police if you are in trouble or in danger cause I don't want to spend my tax dollars paying police to protect you at the jail! And it is not really their job to decide whether a charge is gonna "stick" or not. Their job is to protect and serve as well as to follow the law. Illinois state law says that it is a Class 4 Felony. The article said that there had been death threats made towards him and his innocent co-workers all day starting as early as 7am. Let's just say the police would have ignored all that and did nothing. Maybe we would have been talking about how the police should have done Something, Anything, about the MASS MURDER that had (hypothetically) taken place in Walmart because some person with PTSD and an arsenal of weapons decided that they were gonna come up to Walmart and find him and make him "pay" for burning the flag that he and his service member brother and sisters fought (and maybe some died for) and a bunch of innocent people, including children, get caught in the crossfire. So that is just one senario that could have taken place had the police not taken Bryton into custody. Maybe everyone needs to stop whining about that, because he's really coming out on top here, and teach this kid how to handle his problems the right way before he grabs a gun and starts shooting up your favorite movie theatre because he's "unhappy" with the service he's getting! He needs to learn to use his words! Freedom of speech means you have to actually talk! Burning things is using violence in my opinion and I wish we had a states attorney who could stand behind the laws and officers of this state!

wykhb wrote on July 07, 2016 at 3:07 pm

The Supreme Court decided it was okay to burn the flag, people do it all day long and don't get arrested so it's not a far stretch to assume the Police could use common sense just as you insist the young inexperienced Boy could have.        

          You seem to believe that the guy needs a good "whooping", except you aren't going to do it are you?   Would you like the Police then to administer that?      Because you sure don't want those PTSD Veterans around shooting up the place and slaughtering little kids, huh?    

           Lady, you are all over the place, why don't  you just stop writing now because your veiled prejudices are slipping through.    Guilty people talk the most. 

rsp wrote on July 04, 2016 at 5:07 pm

Here's a timeline of flag desecration laws for anyone who is interested.


But seriously wrote on July 04, 2016 at 8:07 pm

Thanks. Very informational. Everyone should read this. Sadly, those who need to read it most are the least likely to do so.

tasmit99 wrote on July 04, 2016 at 6:07 pm

What a loser. I see an ISIS recruit in the making.

geoguy91 wrote on July 04, 2016 at 6:07 pm
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Yeah I'm sure ISIS would love to bring a gay man into their ranks. As for being a 'loser', who cares? That's not the point here. The point is whether or not people have the right to burn the flag, which they most certainly do, according to not one, not two, but three separate Supreme Court decisions. The violent jingoism and nationalism spreading across this country is terrifying and extremely damaging to the core concept of American liberty.

aking wrote on July 04, 2016 at 7:07 pm

It's for his safety yet his photo and address are posted?? If he is hurt my the virtual being spewed on the Internet right now it would seem that those posting his address and photo would be culpable.

BruckJr wrote on July 04, 2016 at 9:07 pm

I don't see his address.  Has the article been altered?

But seriously wrote on July 04, 2016 at 10:07 pm

His address is listed with arrest/mug shot info uploaded by the county jail. http://bookings.news-gazette.com/bookings/13463

SaintClarence27 wrote on July 04, 2016 at 7:07 pm

You can't just pick up and charge someone "for their safety."

rsp wrote on July 04, 2016 at 8:07 pm

The suggestion is his place of work is being targeted because of his actions. His place of work is listed on his facebook page. They asked him to remove the post and he refused. I guess they didn't ask him to remove the place he worked and any references to it so his coworkers wouldn't be targeted. At the end of the day people are responsible for their own actions so if they make threats they need to go to jail.

chambanabanana wrote on July 06, 2016 at 12:07 pm

THE KID DIDN'T MAKE THREATS!! People made threats against him and his workplace and they arrested THE KID for OTHER PEOPLE'S threats.


What is up with the lack of reading comprehension here?

rsp wrote on July 07, 2016 at 4:07 pm

I didn't say he made threats. His actions "lead" others to make threats toward his coworkers. He was at work when the police talked to him and arrested him. He's not responsible for their actions unless his actions were inciting. Burning a flag doesn't qualify as inciting.

Importantlocalopinion wrote on July 04, 2016 at 7:07 pm

I should do this next fourth. Great way to get some money. Lawsuits on the way. Predicting 20,000 settlement. Dumb police & DA Reitz.

Mirielle wrote on July 04, 2016 at 8:07 pm

This young man's actions may be legal, but I am offended that he would disrespect what our flag stands for.  He is foolish as well as ignorant.

rsp wrote on July 04, 2016 at 8:07 pm

What exactly does it stand for? Are you offended by flag beer cans? Bikinis? Shirts? What's your line? Political speech?

wykhb wrote on July 07, 2016 at 3:07 pm

                It represents all the Men and Women who went before you; who sacrificed and did the hard work to build the country that you live in and enjoy a safe little life of questioning it all.        

            It represents the pride of Men and Women who are willing to stand up to others who would gladly take everything from you if they could, history shows that is human nature after all.       

            Does this nation have problems?   Yes it does, but if you look a bit closer  you will see that they are caused by people who just can't seem to identify with being a citizen of this country, and are willing to attack others because of that, or elect politicians who don't actually have the best interests of the country at heart, all in the name of selfish personal ego or gain, they don't understand community and country, which is why they don't actually reap the benefits that those things provide.  

            That flag represents countless victories over others that would fly a different flag over you and force you to kneel before it under threat of death.     So decide which flag you prefer, and by all means be a person of principle and go to that place and voice your opinions just like you do so freely here.       Maybe  you will make it back to tell us about how that went, and maybe you will then understand what it means to earn something like the people who respect that flag have.       

rsp wrote on July 08, 2016 at 10:07 am

That flag represents countless victories over others that would fly a different flag over you and force you to kneel before it under threat of death.

Interesting choice of words. Kneel before it under threat of death. During Obama's first Presidential campaign, he was harassed by republicans as not being American, and part of their proof was thet he wasn't wearing a flag pin.

Wearing a flag pin was proof of being a true patriot.

These were leaders of our country demanding such proof. We have now had days of stories of a local man receiving death threats over burning a piece of fabric that he owned. Exactly how far do you think we are from those other countries?

Were those victories only so we could create our own tyranny?

wykhb wrote on July 08, 2016 at 6:07 pm

I don't care about your politics, it's politicians that are dividing this country for their own personal gain.  All that Flag was ever meant to do is bring people together with some pride for what has been accomplished when we all worked together toward a common purpose.

          It does not seem unreasonable to demand that the leader of this nation express loyalty to it or the constitution no matter how you want to split the hairs. 

          Quite honestly I have never seen such racism and violence and now terrorism in the United States and throughout the world as I have since the guy with your very same ideals and dealings in innuendo and suggestion took office.      Perhaps those people sounding the warning were pretty accurate in doing so. 

        We have one National Flag, either get behind it or don't, you have that choice in a place that others sacrificed and died to give it to you.       For God's sake (I'm sure that offends you too), get behind SOMETHING and stand up for it instead of waffling.

Sarahbeth wrote on July 04, 2016 at 8:07 pm

Actually and as far as I know of, flag desecration IS federally illegal (as it should be).


rsp wrote on July 04, 2016 at 8:07 pm

Supreme court ruled it was okay under the first amendment but keep trying. When politicians keep passing feel-good measure like this, ask yourself why. Usually happens during election season.

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on July 04, 2016 at 9:07 pm
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Sarah, I'm curious. Why do you think it should be illegal?


Also, how do you feel about graven images?

pebear wrote on July 05, 2016 at 7:07 am

My prediction is that everyone in the US knows about Texas v. Johnson almost as much as they do about Roe v. Wade.  Any lawyer worth his salt will have all charges thrown out of court during the initial arraignment.  After that the Urbana police have set themselves up for false arrest.  Maybe he can sue or maybe he can't I'm not all that knowlegeble on tort law.

pebear wrote on July 05, 2016 at 7:07 am

My prediction is that everyone in the US knows about Texas v. Johnson almost as much as they do about Roe v. Wade.  Any lawyer worth his salt will have all charges thrown out of court during the initial arraignment.  After that the Urbana police have set themselves up for false arrest.  Maybe he can sue or maybe he can't I'm not all that knowlegeble on tort law.

JustAnOpinion wrote on July 05, 2016 at 8:07 am

I personally don't give a rat's rear that this guy burned a flag.  I don't know why he would and don't care.  I just know I would never do it.

The thing I just don't get is when people do these stupid things for attention, why to haters have to bring the employer into it?  I don't condone threatening these attention-seeking morons, but why do these idiots have to threaten WalMart or it's employees just because he works there?  I have to belive that WalMart did not pay him to do this.

Thewatcher wrote on July 05, 2016 at 9:07 am

It's a pretty safe bet there won't be formal charges filed and no case will come from this.  He also won't have a leg to stand on though when it comes to false arrest or anything like that.  There's that old saying that just because you have the right to say it doesn't mean it's right to say.  He's far from alone in being frustrated with America, but there are better ways to voice that opinion than burn an American flag so close to the Fourth of July. Even if he has the right to do it...

marklar49 wrote on July 05, 2016 at 10:07 am

When the Supreme Court has already ruled that the law he was arrested for violating is unconstitutional, I think it's safe to say he has a leg to stand on if he wants to sue over the arrest. 

Thewatcher wrote on July 05, 2016 at 11:07 am

Except that wasn't the only thing he was arrested for, so not necessarily.  It wasn't purely him burning the flag.

rsp wrote on July 05, 2016 at 12:07 pm

Actually, they weren't sure what to do. They received calls worried about his safety and his coworkers' safety due to threats that were being made. They, the government, asked him to take the posts down. He said no. They left. He continued to post. More people called the police department. More threats were made. Then they arrested him.

Then they consulted with the SA office, who said to let him go with a notice to appear. I'm not sure why anyone is calling the SA office the bad guy here, they said release him. They came in after-the-fact.

So the question becomes was he posting any threats? Inciting violence? Or was he just exercizing his right to free speech?

marklar49 wrote on July 05, 2016 at 12:07 pm

If it's unconstitutional to prosecute for flag burning, you cannot prosecute for flag burning by calling it disorderly conduct. It's not complicated. If law enforcement asks you to stop engaging in protected speech, that does not mean you have to stop. And it making people mad, and them making threats, changes nothing.

Glock21 wrote on July 05, 2016 at 9:07 am

On the upside I got to have a conversation with epic daughter about the first amendment. "Isn't that legal?" "Since 1989." "How do you get arrested for just being an <expeletive>? He wasn't hurting anybody." 

The only people who broke the law were folks threatening violence against his co-workers. That's actually a crime. Pretending like arresting him was for his safety isn't how protective custody works. This isn't how the law works. Seriously. This is so ridiculous even a child knows better. It's offensive, shocking, and it ticks me off, but it's absolutely legal... has been for decades. We're probably going to end up paying the jerk because his rights were absolutely violated. This was flat out stupid.

sweet caroline wrote on July 05, 2016 at 9:07 am

He's had his 15 minutes of fame.  This was a pretty calm and enjoyable 4th of July, with no ISIS attacks on American soil as had been threatened.  He got the attention he wanted.  We can all get back to our Tuesday now. 

Chambanacitizen wrote on July 05, 2016 at 10:07 am

The flag represents our freedom of speech.  If he wants to burn it, he is able to. Our country is in the gutter.  Many people feel the same way. We live in a world where voicing your opinion isn't enough.  You can't just tap people on the shoulder to wake them up anymore, you have to hit them with a baseball bat. You have to shock them.  And that is exactly what he did.   I hope he sues Julia out of her job.  As far as the people who are threatening this man or saying he cannot do this, they are not Americans.  They are terrorist pieces of scum who should have their heads lopped off. Personally, I no longer fly the flag ( after 20+ years of doing so) because of the condition our country is in.  Anyone who flys the flag and says he can't burn it needs to leave the country. Or better yet, leave the planet. Real Americans don't want you here. 

Marty wrote on July 05, 2016 at 10:07 am

If someone says he cannot do this they quite possibly are uninformed or unintelligent, but it doesn't make them a terrorist. That's the most ignorant thing I've seen on here in some time mr. "real American". "have their heads lopped off", people that think like this are part of the problem.

rsp wrote on July 05, 2016 at 12:07 pm

He can't sue the SA office or Julia, they didn't arrest him, they ordered him released.

Marty wrote on July 05, 2016 at 10:07 am

I don't see him going to jail. I also don't see him having an easy time getting a job when potential employers google his name. This massive amount of online attention will live on for years.

IlliniwekMerica wrote on July 05, 2016 at 1:07 pm

Exactly. What he did was not illegal, but incredibly stupid.  I'm disgusted that anyone would show that kind of disrespect for the flag and what millions of people hold it to represent, but I take solace in the fact that this person will likely never be hired into a job/position where he'll have influence over anyone. 

CichlidOG wrote on July 05, 2016 at 10:07 am

People don't seem to understand that free speech covers the things you agree with, and the things you don't. If you defend his right to burn the flag and what that means to him,  then defend the rights of those that choose to defend the flag and what it means to them. 

As far as arresting him for his safety.  Those that cry about overreacting law inforcement would be the same people pointing the finger at Law inforcement if they did nothing, and he or his place of work was attacked in some way.

esme wrote on July 05, 2016 at 8:07 pm

This is not quite true.

Nothing this man did was a crime. I say this, mind you, as a Navy veteran. The ideas behind the Constitution and the flag are really much more important to me than the physical objects.

If I need to spell it out, I served in order to protect the 1st Amendment. Not a physical object. Light a bale of them on fire--I will not stop you. I would sooner stop somone who tried to interfere with you by force, because only one of you is committing a crime.

As far as law enforcement overreach: I was a military police officer. Those officers did wrong. You don't arrect the innocent to protect them from the guilty. Not even if you think the innocent guy is a jerk.

The people threatening the innocent guy and his workplace are the guilty ones. One of the things that sucks about being law enforcement is that people do tend to blame you. I just moved to IL, so I'm not sure whether anyone could have gone after the people making the threats.But I'm certain they could have been arrested if they'd acted on those threats.

I'm 100% certain that cyber-threats ~should~ be followed up as criminal. Either way, those are your criminals. Not the flag-burning guy. If "people" point their fingers in the wrong direction because LEOs arrest or don't arrest the wrong person, well...that's actually their fault, isn't it? And not flag burning dude's fault?

Just a ton of logic-fail in all directions?

townsend1306 wrote on July 05, 2016 at 11:07 am

My question is,  was he wrong by what he said ? If so, what was he wrong about ?

Bulldogmojo wrote on July 05, 2016 at 11:07 am


A message from ACLU of Illinois from twitter for Bryton Mellott

"if any of you know this gentleman, please tell him to contact our office! 3122019740"

rsp wrote on July 05, 2016 at 12:07 pm

I don't think he's going to need them. They just want the attention.

khbdab wrote on July 05, 2016 at 12:07 pm

Has the secret service checked in with him regarding his threat to kill trump?

Sid Saltfork wrote on July 05, 2016 at 1:07 pm

Hey, look at it the other way.  You all are free to burn other flags.  Maybe, China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Mexico, Canada, Iceland, Ireland, or any flag you wish to burn in public. 

Some one should open up a flag shop.  It would only sell flags, and not offer political opinions; sort of like a gun dealer store.  No ID would be required, and cigarettes and lighter fluid could be sold with an ID.  All the flags of the states, and countries would be for sale.  There would be a back-room section of corporate flags, although a warning would be given regarding public burning of corporate flags. I wonder if State of Illinois flags are sold somewhere?      

IlliniwekMerica wrote on July 05, 2016 at 1:07 pm

That's not the other way. The other way is NOT BURNING ANY FLAGS, and channeling your protests into a more productive form, not one that insights violence by burning something which millions of people hold to represent loved ones that they've lost defending the countries they love and appreciate. 

rsp wrote on July 05, 2016 at 2:07 pm

I could have sworn those people died to protect our freedoms, like free speech, which includes unpopular speech, like burning the flag.

esme wrote on July 05, 2016 at 8:07 pm

You have two kinds of veterans (or military enthusiasts).

You have the kind who understand that the whole enterprise is to protect ideas, and you have flag fetishists.

I am a Navy veteran and fall into the ideas camp.

Mister_Salty wrote on July 05, 2016 at 1:07 pm

If the police are concerned about the safety of people at Wal-Mart they should go after the people posting those threats, not this moron.

Chambanacitizen wrote on July 05, 2016 at 3:07 pm

Said people are terrorists because they are using the threat of violence to make their point, not because they disagree.  They have every right to disagree.  When you go beyond voicing your opinon, that's when it becomes wrong.  I'll bet you don't consider "mentally ill" white mass shooters terrorists either..but that is exactly what they are. 

BruckJr wrote on July 05, 2016 at 5:07 pm


BART15 wrote on July 05, 2016 at 5:07 pm

If I were to burn a Mexican flag in the middle of the Quad, would I be arrested for a hate crime?

BruckJr wrote on July 05, 2016 at 5:07 pm

or burn a cross?  Just exercising free speech?

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on July 08, 2016 at 12:07 am
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Your First Amendment rights are limited by "time, place & manner" restrictions.


rsp wrote on July 05, 2016 at 9:07 pm

I think there would be a problem with doing it on the quad, unless you had permission or a permit. It's public property. Other than that, go for it. It's a piece of fabric.

The ideas and beliefs that are represented by the flag, any flag, cannot be harmed by burning a piece of fabric. Those ideas and beliefs are in our hearts and minds. If we need a piece of fabric to worship our country is in a sad place.

sprk1 wrote on July 06, 2016 at 8:07 am

There is nothing complex about this situation. Burning a flag is protected speech Texas v Johnson 1989. Flag desecration laws are unconstitutional US v Eichorn 1990. 

The notion that police were doing him a favor by violating his rights and taking his freedom without cause is rediculous!!!


NoOne wrote on July 06, 2016 at 5:07 pm

I get that flag-burning is protected by the 1st Amendment, and I agree that it should be.

What confuses me is why an American citizen would want to do so. Destroying a symbol of freedom to free speech under the 1st Amendment implies one would prefer not to have that freedom. It’s self-contradictory and illogical. There are more articulate and less symbolically sloppy ways of expressing one’s dissatisfaction.

By the same token, why would anyone care if someone burns a flag paid for with their own money? They are only destroying their own property and not threatening anyone else’s freedom. If we believe the flag’s symbolism is that strong, then any amount of flag-burning will not destroy its symbolism, and in fact paradoxically strengthens it because it represents the freedom those people had to begin with to desecrate it.

Let’s celebrate our freedom. Happy Independence!


rsp wrote on July 06, 2016 at 7:07 pm

Stop and think about it. People are more upset about that piece of fabric without the understanding of what it stands for. If it's lost it's meaning, what better way to fight for your country? What better time to have people stand up and talk about what the flag and their country means than the 4th of July? Or does everyone have a cookout to go to, a beer to grab out of the cooler?

NoOne wrote on July 06, 2016 at 11:07 pm

I think there are 2 different interpretations of what the flag represents. In one case, the flag is an object representing other objects (the country, its people and our artificial classification of them as this heterogeneous mix of different ethnicities, races, religions, political parties, professions, ad nauseum . . . ); in the other it represents ideas (the ideals and principals of our founding mothers and fathers and the people as a single unified entity of individuals, each with unique traits.).

Choosing the “object” representation of the flag is a losing proposition. There will always be people, factions and politicians that want to game the system and interpret things as a mechanism for personal/special interest gain. There will always be that paranoid concept of "those others" that are "the enemy within". The spirit of the Constitution gets lost in this interpretation. This seems to be a popular interpretation, and I can see why people want to burn this flag.

On the other hand, the “ideas” representation of the flag encourages us to think about what the ideals and principals laid out in the Constitution are really about. This is the flag I want to keep.

Chambanacitizen wrote on July 06, 2016 at 5:07 pm

Take a look at our presidential candidates. Our economy. White collar crime and cops get away with murder and stealing millions. Nobody is held accountable. People are becoming upset..and woke. Like I said before.. The "let the court figure it out" or "just do what the powers tell you now and figure it out later" do not work anymore. You can't just raise your voice.. You have to raise your fists. People are quick to judge in this day and age. This country is in the dumps. And many celebrated "how great" this country is over the weekend. They have never felt struggle or pain in their lives. Entitled, elitist pieces of trash.

Copyleft wrote on July 07, 2016 at 7:07 am

Of course he won't be prosecuted; there was never any question that what he did was 100% legal. The police need a refresher course on constitutional law.

oliverplt wrote on July 07, 2016 at 9:07 pm

Personally, the fact that the paper has his mug shot for all to see is a bit confounding since he was not even charged with a crime. 

And while I'm on the subject, although I would never burn a flag, I do believe people have right to express their discontent with the nation without being subjected to immense judgement and herd mentality.  For those in this nation who speak up and against issues, such as our failing international policies that cost us lives, money, and international respect, I am grateful.  The world sees it and any American who wants the best for this country should speak up, loudly and proudly.  That is a basic principal this nation was founded on and if we all settle for status quo because of some ridiculous need to be politicially correct then we are not really free.


oliverplt wrote on July 07, 2016 at 9:07 pm