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Friday, July 12, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Cop Owes $7K for Jailing Man Who Shredded Flag

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (CN) - A man who was arrested for shredding the American flag deserves $7,000 in compensatory damages, a federal judge ruled.

Frank Snider III had tried to burn a flag in his yard in October 2009, but settled for scissors when Old Glory would not ignite.

A neighbor who say Snider shredding the flag called the police, and Snider was charged with violating a Missouri flag desecration law.

He spent seven hours in jail, but prosecutors dropped the charge after finding that the state law was likely unconstitutional.

Snider, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, then filed a federal complaint against the city of Cape Girardeau, the arresting officer and the prosecutor, claiming that they violated his First and Fourth Amendment rights.

U.S. District Judge Carol Jackson ruled that the law was unconstitutional in March 2012. She also ruled that Matthew Peters, the arresting officer, violated Snider's rights by arresting and jailing him, but dismissed the claims against Cape Girardeau and the prosecutor.

On Dec. 14, Jackson ruled that Snider was entitled to the $7,000 for the seven hours he spent in jail, but not punitive damages.

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