A teenager who was arrested after an Army veteran saw him clean his car’s dipstick with a U.S. flag will not be charged, a prosecutor said Tuesday.
Although a 1971 Oklahoma law makes flag desecration a felony, the U.S. Supreme Court has decided that such statutes violate Americans’ right to free expression.
“As reprehensible as most of us may find it to be, there’s clearly a long line of appellate decisions protecting an individual’s right,” said assistant District Attorney Lee Cates, who decided not to file charges.
Police officers from Moore, a suburb of Oklahoma City, arrested the 17-year-old boy Thursday after he raised his car hood at a convenience store and used a full-size American flag to clean oil from the dipstick.
Defense attorney C.S. Thornton wouldn’t say whether the boy intended to make a statement, or if he had used the flag this way previously. He also wouldn’t identify the boy.