Mitchell Lee Stauffer doused the flag in gasoline, then set it ablaze, video footage showed.
Tabb, VA – York-Poquoson sheriff’s deputies have arrested a man who set an American flag ablaze outside a Walmart store on Independence Day (video below).
The incident occurred in the parking lot of the store at approximately 9:13 a.m., the Daily Press reported.
Cell phone footage recorded by a Walmart employee showed the suspect, later identified as 23-year-old Mitchell Lee Stauffer, as he rummaged through the trunk of his car while parked in the driving lane in front of the store.
Prior to the start of the video, Stauffer had already thrown an American flag onto the pavement and doused it with gasoline, the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office (YPSO) explained in a Facebook post.
One of the bystanders told someone off-camera to call 911, just as Stauffer bent down and lit the flag on fire, the video showed.
The flag immediately burst into flames, at which point Stauffer yelled about not giving “a s--t if you die.”
He slammed his trunk closed and left the scene, leaving the burning American flag on the ground behind him.
Bystanders noted the license plate on the suspect’s vehicle, and he was later arrested for burning an object in a public place with the intent to intimidate, the YPSO said.
“The burning of our great American Flag is very offensive to most people including me,” York-Poquoson Sheriff J.D. “Danny” Diggs said in the post. “That being said, the courts have ruled that act alone is an expression of free speech and not per se illegal.”
Stauffer was not arrested for “his First Amendment Right to burn the flag,” but because he did so in a public place with the intent of intimidating others.
He faces one to five years in prison if he is convicted, the Daily Press reported.
“This charge is appropriate under the Code of Virginia,” Sheriff Diggs said in the post. “It is fortunate that no one was injured today.”
The International Foundation for Protection Officers (IFPO) is dedicated to providing meaningful and cost effective security training for security guards and protection officers.
We believe that education is a necessary and essential part of professional security training and the security officer’s background. IFPO serves individuals, security companies, and organizations that have their own private security staff. Our students and members benefit from the recognition and standing that the prestigious IFPO certification conveys.
International Foundation for Protection Officers Mission Statement
Mission Statement Part I.
The International Foundation for Protection Officers provides professional learning opportunities for security practitioners, to impart the knowledge, skills, and competencies required to maximize job performance and enhance career potential.
Purpose: to make a positive difference in the quality of the participant’s job performance and elevate the professional status of students who partake of our learning opportunities.
Business: to supply committed security practitioners with a quality education to help achieve their highest potential and provide recognized accreditation for successful completion of educational goals.
Values: commitment, integrity, responsibility, and standards of excellence, provide the platform that supports our journey as we pursue our mission.
Commitment to Excellence: To be the recognized center of excellence and primary provider of education and training products and services to the security industry.
Mission Statement Part II.
“The International Foundation for Protection Officers is committed to the support and professional development of protection officers and supervisors. Through advocacy, promoting training standards, and providing accessible training, education and certification opportunities, we seek to enhance their professional standing as well as increase and diversify the value of the vital services they provide.”