Saturday, August 12, 2006

Still More Flag Insanity

Flaggot [From The Chatanoogan 8/9/06.]

Conservative political activist June Griffin has been arrested for the theft of a Mexican flag from a Dayton [Tennessee] business.

The 67-year-old Ms. Griffin, who ran for Congress in the recent election, is facing misdemeanor charges of theft, vandalism and harassment and felony charges of civil rights violations.

Ms. Griffin, who said it is the first time she has ever been arrested, posted a $5,000 bond.

She said on July 18 she had noticed a small Mexican flag at an Hispanic grocery in the former Rogers Drug Store.

She stated, "I went in and there was nothing English in the store. There was one man who could not speak a word of English."

She said she was outraged about the Mexican flag, saying it was an "act of war" and it "insulted my citizenship."

Ms. Griffin said as the Hispanic man watched, she tore off the flag from where it was suctioned to the building and left with it.

She said, "Foreigners should learn English or leave."

Ms. Griffin, who said she will represent herself in court, said it was done openly and was not a theft. She said she later returned the Mexican flag to a police officer.

She said a much larger Mexican flag was later put in its place, but she said it is no longer there.

She said she had been to local governments trying without success to get them to ban all but American flags.

Ms. Griffin said the operator of the Days Inn at Dayton "flew a British flag on of all days July 4." She said she went to him to protest the British flag.

She said afterwards "the British flag was torn up in a storm, but the Tennessee and American flag were spared. I took it to be an act of God."

She denied being guilty of vandalism, denying that she damaged a hinge when she took the flag.

She also said she was not harrassing when she called the grocery owners to ask them to take down the larger flag.

She is due in court on Friday for arraignment.


Note: Ed Brayton (Dispatches from the Culture Wars) called Griffin the Ugly American of the Year but said it’s “ridiculous” that she’s facing a felony civil rights violation charge. I don’t understand that, either. She’s not a police officer, just mentally ill.

Update 9/1/06: Griffin will be in court today to plead not guilty. She's been charged with, among other things, “civil rights intimidation”, which, according to Tennessee jury instructions, seems tailor-made for this situation:
(1) that the defendant damaged, destroyed or defaced any real or personal property of another person; and (2) that the defendant did so with the intent to unlawfully intimidate another from the exercise or enjoyment of a right or privilege secured by the constitution or laws of the state of Tennessee.