By: Jeff Caldwell
Bryton Mellott, a 22 year old Illinois man, was arrested on the 4th of July for burning an American flag on his property.
According to Mellott’s Facebook page, his name is pronounced Turd Ferguson.
He has many Bernie Sanders photos and posts, including a cover photo of an MTV image of Bernie holding a bird. On July 3rd, Mellott decided the American flag needed to #FeelTheBern.
Mellott posted the infamous flag burning picture as his Facebook profile picture Sunday evening. Here is a screenshot detailing why he is not proud to be an American and calling for his own arrest.
At about 1 AM on July 4th, Bryton posted a Facebook status stating, “So it’d be super-duper if the death threats could stop.” Worried for his and his work place’s safety, the police approached Bryton at his job at Wal-Mart. They tried to sway him into taking down the pictures. After Mellott’s noncompliance, Urbana Police arrested him for violating a 2013 Illinois flag desecration law that says it is a Class 4 felony to burn the American flag.
Bryton was released later that day without charges because of Texas v. Johnson, a 1989 Supreme Court Case that invalidated prohibitions on desecrating the American flag.
In the court case, Gregory Lee “Joey” Johnson appealed his arrest for burning the American flag in protest to Ronald Reagan’s policies. Johnson was originally sentenced to 1 year in prison and a $2,000 fine; however the Supreme Court decided 5-4 that his actions are protected under the 1st Amendment. This Supreme Court decision makes all flag desecration laws unconstitutional and currently enforces the right to burn the American flag.
The Libertarian Republic founder and former Libertarian candidate for president, Austin Petersen, weighs in: