Courtesy WPXI-TV Pittsburgh Facebook
Joshua Brubaker of Blair County, Pennsylvania displayed an upside down American Flag with the American Indian Movement initials spray-painted across it as an act of support for his American Indian heritage he says.

AIM Supporter Charged With Desecrating American Flag

Vincent Schilling

Joshua Brubaker of Blair County, Pennsylvania has been cited for displaying an upside down American Flag spray-painted with “AIM” across it for what he says was expressing his American Indian heritage beliefs.

According to WPXI, the Allegheny Township police Assistant Chief L.J. Berg who says he was offended by the flag, says several townspeople complained so he went to investigate. Berg told WPXI news, he has taken the flag as evidence, folded it properly and charged Brubaker with desecration and insults to the American flag.

Brubaker has since defended his actions to news sources. He says he did not mean to upset or offend anyone, he and his wife are of American Indian descent and are passionate about the American Indian movement – specifically in the Midwest.

“I found that Wounded Knee is up for sale. Not only privately, but commercially. It’s just not right, and simply because I express myself in a way that somebody else doesn’t like or agree with doesn’t mean I should be persecuted for having beliefs,” Brubaker told WPXI.

Since the incident, a flurry of activity has taken place on Facebook – both for and against Brubaker’s actions, those in support of Brubaker’s actions cite the act is covered by First Amendment rights.

If people lost their lives to protect a piece of cloth (most likely made in China) they are the fools. The lives that were lost to protect our freedom is PRECISELY what enables this man to hang his flag on his home in the way he sees fit. Flags are not worth dying for, Liberty is. How is this difficult to comprehend? Said Valerie Russitano on Facebook.

I am a veteran. I served for that man's right agree and disagree. That flag did not physically harm anyone. I disagree with displaying it like that but he has the right to do so. Just because it differs with the popular opinion does not mean he should be punished. More important issues that need attention than this,” said Michael Rimbeckalso on Facebook.

“Freedom of speech is great, but you can't disrespect the flag,” said Graham Tripp.

Others on Facebook expressed Brubaker should be deported to which others replied you can’t deport an American Indian.

“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 to WPXI.

Since Brubaker has since replied that he wished those who were offended would have come so he could have explained his position, the recognition of the incident has since gained the American Civil Liberties Union’s attention.

According to Newsworks, The ACLU says Brubaker who had his American flag seized was merely engaged in legal "political expression."

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Submitted by wilhelmurg on
I guess I'm confused: If a white person wears (i.e.- "desecrates") a Native American headdress as a fashion statement the Indian is supposed to be honored, but when an Indian hangs (i.e. - "desecrates") an American flag as a political statement, they are cited and the flag is confiscated. This man was attempting to adorn his house with beautiful things. Why can't white people GET OVER the flag?

Hidden Wolf's picture
Hidden Wolf
Submitted by Hidden Wolf on
It is no insult. During wartime in inverted flag is a post for assistance or an SOS. By printing AIM on it :it's simply a call to the Government for help. I think the law enforcement in the area needs to look up the military codes of conduct. It is a well established fact that when one feels he is in peril this is the proper thing to do.This just show's the ignorance of the white's when one follows their rules and laws. You can do this but you better be white.

stevef's picture
Submitted by stevef on
I tend to agree that this is sensitive stuff, but, if the defense is just 'freedom of speech', then I guess you also support the UND students that may have been protesting the alcohol sales by the Sioux tribes decision on alcohol? Both can be viewed as simply exercising their freedoms? I actually think they both stepped over a line that should not have been crossed. Should either of them be penalized criminally or civilly? Probably not.

montanamiddle's picture
Submitted by montanamiddle on
This dude just watched the movie Thunderheart too much, me thinks!

Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
Interesting to note that the upsidedown American flag is used often by the Tea Party, the NRA and nearly every other band of malcontents who are convinced that Obama is leading the country to ruin. Why aren't they targeted as well? Not everyone knows (most veterans do) that the flag flown upsidedown is a sign of duress, but in most cases (including this one) it's just hyperbole. What really bothers me (although not to the point that I'd fly a flag upsidedown) is the double-standard here. Get a group of old fart, rednecks doing this, throw in a placard of Obama depicted as an African Native and bitch loudly about Obama and they're citizens exercising their right to protest. Let an NDN do the same thing . . .

Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
Someone please tell Josh Brubaker that he can piss off the White Man by spending a few bucks at the A.I.M. store and still be on the right side of the law.