Thursday, July 26, 2007

    Flagged down: Activists arrested in row over protest flag, allege abuse by Buncombe deputy

    by David Forbes

    The Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office arrested activists Mark and Deborah Kuhn in West Asheville Wednesday morning after a complaint that the couple was desecrating an American flag. They say a deputy invaded their home and used excessive force. [The photo at right, taken by a neighbor, shows Mark on the ground, with Deborah standing by, during the arrest.]

    The flag was hung upside down as an act of protest and had several statements pinned to it, including a picture of President Bush with the words “Out Now” upon it and one explaining the meaning of the upside down flag, a sign of distress.

    The Kuhns, along with several neighbors and witnesses, assert that a sheriff’s deputy violently invaded their home at 68 Brevard Road. The sheriff’s office claims that the couple assaulted deputy Brian Scarborough and resisted arrest.

    According to the report from the sheriff’s office, Scarborough arrived at the home at 8:45 a.m. in response to a complaint about the desecration of a flag.

    Lt. Randy Sorrell says that while the address was in the city of Asheville, “when we receive a complaint that the law is being broken, we have to respond.”

    Under a rarely enforced state statute, it is a misdemeanor to desecrate or trample a U.S. or North Carolina flag. The Kuhns said the flag was taken as evidence, though the sheriff’s department has no record of it.

    After knocking on the door, the couple answered it and, after being shown the statute, said they complied and took the flag down. Scarborough then asked for their identification.

    “The flag covered our whole front porch; he comes up with this printout about the law and tells us that we can’t attach things to the flag, that we’re desecrating it,” Deborah Kuhn said. “We tell him we’re not meaning to desecrate it — all we had was a picture of [President] Bush with ‘out now’ on it and a note saying this was not a sign of distress or disrespect. We did this because the country is in distress and we don’t know what to do.”

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    Anonymous said...

    Sickening and disrespectful towards human being.
    Asa cultutre we need to dispose of our assumed need for police officers. Our neighbors and our culture needs to be strong and determined in the element of social respect.
    Being threatened with prison time and or physical harm, is the very least of our worries, stamp a firm foot into the conceptual realm of " officer of the law".
    We are human beings of a certain respect. Not the children of a poilce jockey.
    Power to the powerless,

    Anonymous said...

    please excuse my typos. They include: As a culture.

    Susan said...

    Thanks for your comment, Anonymous. I appreciate your taking the time.