A Pennsylvania man was charged with desecration and insults to the American flag after he hung it upside down with the letters “AIM” spray-painted across it on his Blair County home.
Joshua Brubaker says he’s just standing up for his Native American heritage because “this county is in so much distress right now."
Allegheny Township police said his actions were 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.” Assistant Police Chief L.J. Berg told WPXI.
“I removed it from the building, folded it properly and seized it as evidence,” Berg added.
Brubaker says he never meant to offend anyone. In fact, many of his family members have fought in the military. But he says he and his wife have American Indian heritage and are passionate about the American Indian Movement, or AIM.
“I found that Wounded Knee is up for sale, not only privately, but commercially," Brubaker said. "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.”
He said he wished that those offended by the flag would have come to him so he could have explained why he hung it.
The American Civil Liberties Union stands by Brubaker's actions, saying he was only practicing legal "politicion expression," according to Kansas First News.
“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.
He hopes police will reconsider their position, but Berg said Brubaker will have to find another way to express himself.
“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.