Monday, November 15, 2004

Dissent Will Not Be Allowed

KEVIN O'HANLON, AP - Charges against a Vietnam-era veteran who flew an American flag upside down to protest the war in Iraq have been dismissed. The American Civil Liberties Union said Thursday that Loup County [NE] authorities agreed to drop the charges against 64-year-old Larry Lentz.

The case began last month when Loup County Sheriff Dan Kling warned Lentz that he could be ticketed for flying the upside-down flag in his yard. Kling returned later, took the flag down and had Lentz ticketed for violating a 1977 state law that prohibits "mutilation of a flag." Nebraska's flag law says "A person commits the offense of mutilating a flag if such person intentionally casts contempt or ridicule upon a flag by mutilating, defacing, defiling, burning, or trampling upon such flag."

Lentz then bought another flag, but this time flew it upside down on his backyard flagpole. When the sheriff returned a third time and threatened to issue another ticket, Lentz called the ACLU for help.

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