BLAIR COUNTY, Pa. - A Blair County man said he was standing up for this American Indian heritage and expressing his beliefs when he hung an American flag upside down and spray painted it earlier this week.
But police said what he did was inexcusable.
“I was offended by it when I first saw it. I had an individual stop here at the station, a female, who was in the military and she was very offended by it.” said Allegheny Township police Assistant Chief L.J. Berg.
Berg said he took the flag down and charged Joshua Brubaker with desecration and insults to the American flag.
“I removed it from the building, folded it properly and seized it as evidence,” said Berg.
Brubacker defended his actions and said he never meant to upset or offend anyone. He said he and his wife are of American Indian heritage and are passionate about American Indian Movement, specifically in the Midwest.
“I found that Wounded Knee is up for sale. Not only privately, but commercially. It’s just not right, and simply because I express myself in a way that somebody else doesn’t like or agree with doesn’t mean I should be persecuted for having beliefs,” Brubaker said.
With many of his own family members serving in the military at one point in their lives, Brubaker said the flag should give him the right to express his beliefs.
“If I don’t have a right to fly that flag upside down, which means a sign of distress, which this country is in so much distress right now, then what’s the point of having it?” Brubaker asked.
Authorities said there are other ways he could have expressed himself, other than defacing a symbol so many have fought hard to protect.
“People have made too many sacrifices to protect the flag and to have this happen in my community, I’m not happy with that,” Berg said.
Brubaker said he wishes those who were offended would have come to him so he could have explained his position. He is facing misdemeanor charges, but hopes police will reconsider.
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