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Man arrested after burning American flag outside Virginia Walmart

Posted at 12:02 PM, Jul 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-05 12:02:28-04

YORKTOWN, Va. -- Sheriff's deputies arrested a Williamsburg-area man on July 4 after he lit an American flag on fire outside Walmart on George Washington Memorial Highway in Yorktown.

Video recorded outside the store, and shared on the York-Poquoson Sheriff's Office Facebook page, showed Mitchell Stauffer get out of a car and set the flag on fire.

"This country f***ing hates you. It wouldn't give a s*** if you die," he yelled before he got back into his car and drove off.

Stauffer was arrested and charged with burning an object in a public place with the intent to intimidate.

"The burning of our great American flag is very offensive to most people including me," Sheriff Danny Diggs said. "That being said, the courts have ruled that act alone is an expression of free speech and not per se illegal. This charge is appropriate under the Code of Virginia. It is fortunate that no one was injured today."

The sheriff said Stauffer's actions made "bystanders very nervous."

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