Charleston police are asking for the public’s help to identify a man involved in a flag burning incident at Marion Square on June 21.
He apparently has a speech impediment that is noticeable, according to a Tuesday media release. Spokesman Charles Francis said the man is not wanted, that police are currently just trying to identify him.
The flag burning incident involved members of the Black Lives Matter Charleston group burning an American flag in Marion Square.
Video posted on social media by activist DeRay McKesson captured the burning. A small group of onlookers watched as flames ate away at a flag held by two men.
“We are under a terrorist American state,” a third man can be heard saying in the background. “We are under a terrorist attack.”
A still image that also surfaced shows one of the men talking with Charleston officers, who reportedly intervened.
While there is a law in South Carolina that makes burning a U.S. or Confederate flag a crime, the Supreme Court struck down the Flag Protection Act of 1989, ruling it is constitutionally protected speech, according to Texas v. Johnson.
There is a city ordinance, however, that prohibits open burning within city limits.
“‘Open burning’ means the intentional burning of materials wherein products of combustion are emitted directly into the ambient air without passing through a stack or chimney from an enclosed chamber,” the ordinance states.
Violations of that particular city code are punishable by a fine of up to $500.
Anyone who can identify the man involved is asked to contact consolidated dispatch at 743-7200.
Reach Melissa Boughton at 937-5594 or at Twitter.com/mboughton.