Cape Girardeau man awarded $7,000 in flag desecration case

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A federal judge has awarded $7,000 in damages to a Cape Girardeau man arrested for cutting up an American flag and throwing it into the street.

Frank Snider III was arrested in 2009. Shortly after his arrest he was released and charges were dropped when a Southeast Missourian reporter told prosecutors that flag desecration was constitutionally protected by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

U.S. District Judge Carol Jackson, ruling in the case in March, issued a permanent injunction against enforcement of Missouri's flag desecration law. On Friday, she awarded compensatory damages to Snider.

Jackson ruled that arresting officers violated Snider's Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures in arresting Snider and jailing him for seven hours.

Despite Jackson's ruling Missouri's flag desecration law remains on the books. Snider's attorney, Tony Rothert of the American Civil Liberties Union, said legislators should repeal the law because police are confused about whether to enforce it.

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