MARINE DODGES CHARGES DEFENDING FLAG
A U.S. Marine Corps reservist may have broken the law when he crossed a protest line in Midwest City, Oklahoma, to defend the U.S. flag, but he won’t be punished for it.
According to a March 18 story in The Daily Oklahoman, Midwest City Assistant City Attorney Randal Homburg said he thinks there are grounds to prosecute Marine reservist Ray Adam Modisette, 20, for an act of civil disobedience. But, at the request of the local police department, Homburg said he’s declining to file charges.
Modisette was arrested on a complaint of interfering with official police process. He told The Oklahoman he was reacting to a war protester who was stuffing an American flag down her pants.
Modisette was leaving Tinker Air Force Base when he saw the protester with the flag. He said he turned around and headed for the crowd to get the flag. He was handcuffed after ignoring several requests by officers to move away from the small group of demonstrators from Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas—the same group that protests at he funerals of US service members killed in action.
“We believe the act was emotional and not really deliberate,” Midwest City Police Chief Brandon Clabes said. “It caused us to take action, but we hated to have to do it.”
Modisette posted $850 bail—money he said he earned during a deployment to Iraq — and was released.
With prosecutors declining a case against Modisette, he will be refunded the $850, which he was willing to pay. “I think it would have been money well-spent,” Modisette said Monday. “I guess a lot of people on Ol’ Glory’s side felt the same way.”
Several Oklahomans said they were willing to help him pay potential fines.
Mitch Logston of Oklahoma City immediatly collected $500 for Modisette. He said many of those who contributed have children in the military, some serving in Iraq.
73-year-old Stillwater, OK, resident June Parsons said the incident brought back bad memories of anti-military sentiment during the Vietnam War. Her husband was killed fighting in Vietnam, she said.
“If I was there I would have wanted to do the same thing and probably gotten the snot knocked out of me,” Parsons said. “I’m proud of that young man for standing up.”
If police hadn’t stepped in, the situation could have erupted and people could have been hurt. The police interference may have even spared Modisette a potential lawsuit from the Westboro group, if the situation had turned physical. The Westboro group makes much of its money from various litigation.
After the publicity generated by Modisette’s arrest, he fielded more than a dozen calls from people wanting to contribute money. Modisette said support has been overwhelming, but the Marine reservist declined offers of financial assistance.
“The way I was raised was the reason I couldn’t drive by and watch that go on,” he said. “There’s liberty, and then there’s ridiculous.”