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Asheville, NC: alleged flag desecration results in fight and arrests

Blender Ann Paige of Out in Asheville tipped me off on this outrage going on out in the western part of North Carolina:

Pam…..check this out….happened right up the street from me and my partner. The folks had a upside down flag on their porch with  “OUT NOW”  along with a pic of GW pinned to the flag. Well, Buncombe County deputies ended up arresting them for…..well….you got to check this out.

From the Asheville Citizen-Times:

Mark and Deborah Kuhn were arrested on two counts of assault on a government employee, resisting arrest and a rarely used charge, desecrating an American flag, all misdemeanors. The Kuhns were released from custody Wednesday afternoon.

“This is surreal,” Deborah Kuhn, 52, said moments after her son Mark Stidham paid $1,500 bond to get the couple out of jail.

Arrest reports show Buncombe County Sheriff’s deputy Brian Scarborough went to the Kuhns’ home on 68 Brevard Road about 8:45 a.m. Wednesday to investigate a complaint of an American flag on display after being desecrated.

State law prohibits anyone from knowingly mutilating, defiling, defacing or trampling the U.S. or North Carolina flags. Lt. Randy Sorrells of the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office said the Kuhns desecrated the flag by pinning signs to it, not by flying it upside down.

An upside-down flag typically is flown as a distress signal. The Kuhns said they flew it this way not out of disrespect but to symbolize the state of the country.

Deborah Kuhn said the signs pinned to the flag included an explanation on the meaning of an upside-down flag and asked to “help our country.” One of the signs was a photo of President Bush with “Out Now” written on it, they said.

…Mark Kuhn, who said he had flown his flag upside down before without any problems, said he plans to fight the charges. The Kuhns each face a maximum 420 days in jail if convicted on all of the charges.

“We are going to do our best to get a civil liberties lawyer from the ACLU,” Kuhn said.

Here’s the photo. If you read the rest of the article, it was a real fracas — basically a fight breaking out and charges that the deputy assaulted the Kuhns. The newpaper’s web site has the 911 call and other audio interviews with those involved.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding