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Illinois man who posted photo of himself burning U.S. flag arrested but won’t face charges

6 July 2016 Entertainment News

Fourth Estate Staff

Urbana, IL, United States (4E) – An Illinois man took to Facebook to post a photo of himself burning the United States flag and officials have arrested him but will not be facing criminal charges.

According to reports, the man was identified as Bryton Mellott and he posted the photo on Sunday, during the Fourth of July weekend. He used the hashtag “# youbetterburnthatflag” on his post and he was arrested on Monday by officials from the Urbana Police Department.

Champaign County State's Attorney Julia Rietz said that they based their decision not to post any criminal charges against Mellott in the 1989 Texas v. Johnson case. She shared, “The act of burning a flag is protected free speech, according to the U.S. Supreme Court decision.”

However, in Illinois, a statute against burning American flags is implemented so police officials initially charged Mellott with flag desecration and disorderly conduct. Rietz pointed out that the state law is in conflict with the federal law leading to the charges being dismissed.

Officials were alerted about the matter as many have called complaining about Mellott’s photo. Others expressed their concern over the safety of Mellott as death threats have reportedly been sent to him. On Monday at around 1 A.M., Mellott posted on Facebook the following status: "So it'd be super-duper if the death threats could stop."

Accordingly, a lengthier post was deleted by Mellott wherein he expressed his wanting to “one day feel a sense of pride toward my nationality again.” In the since-deleted post, he added that too many people are suffering at the hands of politicians influenced by their special interests and that too many people are being killed and brutalized by police forces.

The post ended with this: “Too many Americans hold hate in their hearts in the name of their religion, and for fear of others. …. I do not have pride in my country. I am overwhelmingly ashamed, and I will demonstrate my feelings accordingly. #ArrestMe.”