Flag flown in distress

Flag flown in distress

This is a discussion on Flag flown in distress within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Dispute over flag protest erupts in Wisc. village WAUSAU, Wis. – An American flag flown upside down as a protest in a northern Wisconsin village ...

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  1. #1
    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    Flag flown in distress

    Dispute over flag protest erupts in Wisc. village

    WAUSAU, Wis. – An American flag flown upside down as a protest in a northern Wisconsin village was seized by police before a Fourth of July parade and the businessman who flew it — an Iraq war veteran — claims the officers trespassed and stole his property.

    A day after the parade, police returned the flag and the man's protest — over a liquor license — continued.

    The American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin is considering legal action against the village of Crivitz for violating Vito Congine Jr.'s' First Amendment rights, Executive Director Chris Ahmuty said.

    "It is not often that you see something this blatant," Ahmuty said.

    In mid-June, Congine, 46, began flying the flag upside down — an accepted way to signal distress — outside the restaurant he wants to open in Crivitz, a village of about 1,000 people some 65 miles north of Green Bay.

    He said his distress is likely bankruptcy because the village board refused to grant him a liquor license after he spent nearly $200,000 to buy and remodel a downtown building for an Italian supper club.

    Congine's upside-down-flag represents distress to him; to others in town, it represents disrespect of the flag.

    Hours before a Fourth of July parade, four police officers went to Congine's property and removed the flag under the advice of Marinette County District Attorney Allen Brey.

    Neighbor Steven Klein watched in disbelief.

    "I said, 'What are you doing?' Klein said. "They said, 'It is none of your business.'"

    The next day, police returned the flag.

    Brey declined comment Friday.

    Marinette County Sheriff Jim Kanikula said it was not illegal to fly the flag upside down but people were upset and it was the Fourth of July.

    "It is illegal to cause a disruption," he said.

    The parade went on without any problems, Kanikula said.

    Village President John Deschane, 60, an Army veteran who served in Vietnam, said many people in town believe it's disrespectful to fly the flag upside down.

    "If he wants to protest, let him protest but find a different way to do it," Deschane said.

    Congine, a Marine veteran who served in Iraq in 2004, said he intends to keep flying the flag upside down.

    "It is pretty bad when I go and fight a tyrannical government somewhere else," Congine said, "and then I come home to find it right here at my front door."
    I guess when the cops don't like something they can just break the law,I hope they end up losing their jobs after the lawsuit bankrupts the town
    "Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
    --Mayor Marion Barry, Washington , DC .


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    Wonder why he was refused the liquor license? And many who aren't in the military or don't know anyone who has served maynot understand the meaning of flying it upside down. IMHO the 4th is about celebrating the birth of our great nation, not protesting, although I believe this man has the right to do so. The officers and DA shouldn't have removed it either, but I sort of understand why, doesn't make it right though.

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    Sure, I don't think they had a right to just take down the flag, but at the same time the guy was NOT in distress.

    Flying the flag upside down is supposed to be a sign of peril... as in, "COME RESCUE ME!" Not, "I'm upset because I can't get a liquor license."

    I would be upset that the guy was flying the flag upside down as well. In my opinion, it's crying wolf.

    Not sure how the police should have handled it. Maybe everyone over-reacted just a bit.

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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    Regardless there is no law against flying the flag upside down AFAIK,The LEO overstepped their legal authority and need to be slapped hard,I wonder how many other inconvenient laws they choose to break on a daily basis
    "Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
    --Mayor Marion Barry, Washington , DC .

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    6-8 years ago I would have been offended, but today I think this country is under duress. I would support anyone flying a American Flag upside down, we can only be pushed so much. Also note that he didn't start flying the flag upside down on the forth, it was mid June. (and yes, I realize he did it because of not getting a liquor license, but I still give a)

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    Yes, I think this country is in "distress" and support flying the flag upside down as a statement of our affairs.

    With that said, I wonder how many people will boycott his restaurant because of their beliefs in regards to flying the flag upside down.

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    I will give you my take:
    Flying the flag upside down for a liquor license not obtained or disliking politics is akin to calling 911 because your local McDonalds ran out of chicken McNuggets.
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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miggy View Post
    I will give you my take:
    Flying the flag upside down for a liquor license not obtained or disliking politics is akin to calling 911 because your local McDonalds ran out of chicken McNuggets.
    Maybe so,but it still does not give the Police the right to trespass on his property and steal his property,even tho they returned it I'm sure it was after they realised they were about to be charged with theft,too many cops think the badge gives them the right to make up laws as they see fit and then claim they were acting in the publics interest,just like the argument they would use to confiscate guns
    "Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
    --Mayor Marion Barry, Washington , DC .

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    The question in court will come down to whether flying the flag was "pure speech" that was intended to communicate a specific message. From the article, it is clear to me that he intended to communicate he was figuratively in distress, and it is his intent that the court will focus on in determining if his 1st Amendment rights were violated.

    Whether it was an "emergency" or not doesn't seem relevant, as he broke no law. Flying an inverted flag isn't akin to a false 911 call -- as evidenced by the fact that he had flown the flag in that manner for quite some time and emergency responders had not descended on his restaurant to render aid.

    As distasteful as it is to most of us, remember that the Courts have upheld the burning of the American flag as an act of pure speech. The attorney should have known this, and should understand that just because people don't like to see the flag flown inverted, it isn't cause to trample civil rights. If this goes to trial, my sense is that the Court will find for Congine, because his act amounted to pure speech with a political message and although distasteful it was not inflammatory speech that would not be protected.

    I suppose the next thing on the agenda for Wausau is a good book-burning party.

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    Thumbs up

    "It is illegal to cause a disruption," he said.
    Yes, the police ought not to have done that. Disruption was their goal. Disruption of a simple statement being made by a citizen.

    May their arrogance be disrupted ... legally.

    Quote Originally Posted by Miggy View Post
    I will give you my take:
    Flying the flag upside down for a liquor license not obtained or disliking politics is akin to calling 911 because your local McDonalds ran out of chicken McNuggets.
    Baloney. Calling in the cavalry is stealing the people's "gold" by stealing services for no cause ... a false-flag plea for help, if you will.

    Police deciding to wad their own knickers is NOT a citizen's request for anything. I think it's clear that the police made the abuse of resources happen, in this instance. Big difference. Theft of public resources, versus speech.
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    Distinguished Member Array tinkerinWstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miggy View Post
    I will give you my take:
    Flying the flag upside down for a liquor license not obtained or disliking politics is akin to calling 911 because your local McDonalds ran out of chicken McNuggets.
    +1

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    Quote Originally Posted by Miggy View Post
    I will give you my take:
    Flying the flag upside down for a liquor license not obtained or disliking politics is akin to calling 911 because your local McDonalds ran out of chicken McNuggets.
    Right on!
    Quote Originally Posted by dukalmighty View Post
    Maybe so,but it still does not give the Police the right to trespass on his property and steal his property,even tho they returned it I'm sure it was after they realised they were about to be charged with theft,too many cops think the badge gives them the right to make up laws as they see fit and then claim they were acting in the publics interest,just like the argument they would use to confiscate guns
    If you read carefully it was removed after the local prosecutor weighed in in the matter. LEO's follow direction from their boss just like any of us would, personal feeling aside.
    Seems the restaurant owner might have considered legal action, posted a large sign or other means of showing his concern rather than disgracing the U.S. flag.
    "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson


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    I'm certain that disrespecting the American flag is really going to help his chances of ever getting that liquor license now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by QKShooter View Post
    I'm certain that disrespecting the American flag is really going to help his chances of ever getting that liquor license now.
    +1 Some would beleive this is his right under 1A, He has the right to say what he wants but he has to accept whatever happens to him as a result.

    I also think the LEO overstepped their bounds, but I don't necessarily blame them either.
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    When people make mountains out of mole hills, trouble follows.

    The owner protested what may well have been a fairly routine and legitimate denial of his license (we don't know), but for discussion sake let's assume that is true.

    The DA and police overreacted and did something very wrong solely because something offended them.

    Two wrongs don't make a right, and no one in the picture exhibited anything remotely resembling good sense.

    There remains however the fact that one side violated the law and the other didn't.

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