One Illinois man, Bryton Mellott, has been arrested over burning a flag on Facebook over the Fourth of July weekend.

The Facebook incident

Mellott had posted pictures on his account, not only showing him holding a burning flag in hand, and wearing what appears to be a crown of flowers, but also writing that he was "not proud to be an American." The posts also featured hashtags such as #youbetterburnthatflag and #ArrestMe.

The original is believed to have been taken down, but Mellot's account later released the following.

Reportedly, Mellot has been described by his past employers as being something of a “flag-burning social justice warrior.” He has also been described as having a violent reaction towards Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, once sharing a post on Facebook about a man from the United Kingdom who had been accused of attempting to assassinate Trump in Las Vegas, and wrote to “kill him dead.”

Mellot’s actions are not necessarily illegal in of itself.

The 1990 case United States v. Eichman struck down the earlier Flag Protection Act of 1989, meaning that burning the flag can be seen as a non-verbal act of free-speech, which is protected by the First Amendment in the U.S. Constitution, although there have been attempts to recriminalize such flag-burnings over the years.However, Mellot would end up in police custody, eventually.

Arrested for public safety

Urbana policebecame aware of the controversial posts after Mellot received death threats on social media. In addition, Mellot’s employer, Wal-Mart, has also received death threats, according to reports. On July 4th, Mellot took to social media, again,asking for the death-threats to stop.

Police arrested Mellot with official charges of flag desecration and disorderly conduct.

According to sources, however, police were partially motivated to go through with the arrest for the sake of Mellot’s safety, as well as the safety of Mellot’s employers, Wal-Mart, who is said to have helped with the investigation, and the safety of the general public. Mellot was eventually released out of custody, with a court date.There is currently speculation, however, that the case could end up dismissed due to the aforementioned 1990 case United States v.

Eichman.

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