The U.S. Code makes desecration of an American flag a crime punishable by up to one year in jail. Most states have their own additional laws. In Pennsylvania it is apparently illegal to "disrespect" the U.S. flag or to use it for publicity or commercial purposes. (No one tell all the businesses in Philly, and elsewhere I'm sure, that use American flags to advertise!)
Joshua Brubacker, of Alleghany Township, found out about laws protecting the American flag last week after spray painting his and flying it upside down in protest, he says, of the sale of Wounded Knee. Via WPXI:
"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." said Allegheny Township police Assistant Chief L.J. Berg.
Berg said he took the flag down and charged Joshua Brubaker with desecration and insults to the American flag….
"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.
Brubaker said he wishes those who were offended would have come to him so he could have explained his position. He is facing misdemeanor charges, but hopes police will reconsider.
Brubaker also claims he never meant to offend someone which begs the question of what he did intend with displaying a defaced, upside down flag? Protest isn't all that effective if it doesn't upset somebody—it's kind of the point. Brubaker might find more success appealing to his First Amendment rights rather than playing along with (or buying into, as the case may be) the ridiculous notion that in America offensiveness is something the police should, uh, police, or that the right not to be offended is why Americans make sacrifices for their country.
h/t Anthony B.