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Arizona Man Is Arrested For Burning Mexican Flag

Ah, justice.

From the Arizona Daily Star:

Russ Dove, right, a member of the Tucson-based Border Guardians, holds a burning Mexican flag, while fellow member Laine Lawless, center, looks on, during a counter-protest to an immigration-rights rally, Monday, April 10, 2006, at Amory Park in Tucson, Ariz. Roy Warden is on the left, with his arm raised.

City man arrested after Mexican-flag burning

By Brady McCombs

Arizona Daily Star

Tucson, Arizona | Published: 04.12.2006

A Tucson man was arrested Tuesday for his role in the burning of a Mexican flag as part of a counterprotest at a pro-immigration rally.

At about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Tucson police cited Roy Warden, 58, on suspicion of assault, criminal damage and reckless burning, and then released him, according to Sgt. Decio Hopffer.

Video footage shot Monday by police and the media showed Warden assaulting a TV cameraman and a photographer, Hopffer said. Because only one of the men pressed charges, there is only one assault charge.

Warden faces the criminal-damage charge for harm done to the concrete shuffleboard court where Warden’s group was burning the Mexican flag, Hopffer said.

Warden and his group, Border Guardians, arrived at Armory Park just after noon Monday to stage a counterprotest to the 15,000 marchers who were protesting what they see as unfair immigration laws. At about 2:15 p.m, they burned Mexican flags and tempers flared.

Police arrested two girls for throwing water at Warden and his group, and a scuffle broke out as police escorted them away. On Monday, Tucson police arrested six people on charges of aggravated assault on a peace officer, interfering with governmental operation, hindering prosecution and disturbing the peace.

Hopffer said police are still reviewing tape of the scuffle.

Warden said the charges are a direct result of political pressure from the Mexican Consulate.

"If they saw something unlawful, why didn’t they commit an arrest then?" Warden said.

He said he plans to represent himself at his court hearing on April 24 and said he’s confident he will clear himself of charges. In addition, he said he plans to sue the cameraman for defamation of character and denying his right to free speech.

Another member of Border Guardians, Laine Lawless, called the arrest a petty way to punish the group for its dissenting voice.

March organizers also questioned why it took police so long to make the arrest. They have a requested a meeting with city officials for Thursday to discuss the issue, said Zoe Hammer, spokeswoman for Border Action Network, one of the local human-rights groups that organized the march.

I wonder if there were any other lawbreakers about at that time and place?

I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a person being arrested for burning a US flag.


On left, Mexicans burn US flag in front of a veterans cemetery. On right, Mexicans burn US flag in front of US Embassy in Mexico City.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, April 12th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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