Pennsylvania man could end up with jail time for having his flag on the exterior of his home.
The flag was not stolen by a trespasser, but was taken down and “seized” as evidence by officers of the Allegheny Township Police Department.
DUNCANSVILLE, PENNSYLVANIA — A criminal complaint was issued last week against Joshuaa Brubaker, 37, of Duncansville, Pennsylvania by the Allegheny Township Police Department for displaying an upside down American flag with “AIM” spray painted in white letters.
While not a member of the American Indian Movement (AIM), Brubaker has kept up with its history and supports its causes. Brubaker is not an enrolled member of an American Indian tribe. He was adopted when he was three-years-old, but knows his biological father was part Sioux.
Displaying a country’s flag upside down is an international sign of distress.
“After I found out Wounded Knee is for sale a few weeks ago, I felt our country is in distress. When I read about all of the Native kids taken from their homes and raised by non-Native people, I feel our country is in distress,” Brubaker told the Native News Online on Sunday evening.
“So, I put the flag up upside down with AIM on it and hung it on my house,” Brubaker continued.
Since Brubaker lives across the street from the township police department gained the flag visibility.
According Brubaker, the flag was on his home for about three weeks. This past Monday, he noticed it was missing. On Tuesday, he went across the street to file a stolen property police report for his missing flag. After he was almost done, he was referred to Allegheny Township Assistant Police Chief Leo Berg, III.
Berg informed Brubaker he was going to charge him with a federal offense for desecrated an American flag.
It turns out the flag was not stolen by a trespasser, but was taken down and “seized” as evidence by officers of the Allegheny Township Police Department.
“I explained that I was offended along with others by the disrespectful, offensive and insulting desecration and public display of his flag,” reads, in part, the police criminal complaint issued to Brubaker and obtained by the Native News Online. The complaint was written by Berg.
Brubaker was not charged with a federal offense, but the criminal complaint charges him of a misdemeanor.
The offense reads:
“Insults to national or commonwealth flag – A person is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree if he maliciously takes down, defiles, injures, removes or in any manner damages, insults, or destroys any American flag or the flag of the Commonwealth which is displayed anywhere.”
Since receiving the complaint, Brubaker has been in contact with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and will be assigned an attorney soon. Brubaker is to appear before Magistrate Steven D. Jackson on June 3, 2014.
Duncansville, Pennsylvania is located in the center of the state and had a population of 1,233 in 2010.