TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Veterans sue N.Y. city over ban on flag

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Associated Press
Friday, Aug. 2, 2013, 8:27 p.m.
 

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — A veterans group has filed a free-speech lawsuit against officials who banned a “Don't Tread on Me” flag from a city-owned armory because of the flag's recent association with the Tea Party.

The lawsuit says New Rochelle's action, in addition to being unconstitutional, was “unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious,” and betrayed a lack of appreciation of history.

The city council had ordered the flag down in March, citing complaints that the yellow banner with a coiled rattlesnake was making a political statement. The flag has been used as an unofficial symbol of the Tea Party since at least 2008 and is often flown at party rallies, tax protests and gun rights rallies.

But the lawsuit, filed last week in federal court by the United Veterans Memorial and Patriotic Association, offers a long history of the flag, which has been used by the military since 1776. And it says none of the veterans who raised the flag in March are Tea Party members.

It says that “contrary to defendants' unfounded, subjective (and incorrect) belief,” hoisting the Gadsden flag was not meant to support the Tea Party. It was meant “to honor the veterans who have served and died for our country under the rattlesnake image and the words ‘Don't Tread on Me' since the American Revolution,” the lawsuit says.

City officials did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment. The city manager said in April it is up to the city to determine which flags fly on city-owned property.

The lawsuit names the mayor, city manager and four City Council members. It requests an injunction and “nominal and compensatory damages.”

Peter Parente, president of the veterans group, referred calls to attorney William Baaki of the Thomas More Law Center, a conservative legal defense group in Ann Arbor, Mich. Baaki did not immediately return a call.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. Mom charged in girl’s death in line for $1M from her trust fund
  2. New heart failure drug works much better than current treatment, study finds
  3. University of Wisconsin researchers work to customize vegetables for specific uses
  4. Cleveland welcomes server farms
  5. Astronomers get look at birth of huge galaxy
  6. Pilot in Atlantic Ocean crash lost consciousness, Coast Guard says
  7. ‘Lost’ IRS emails exist, government lawyers say
  8. Judge reaffirms Texas’ ‘Robin Hood’ system of school funding unconstitutional
  9. Legendary ‘Walking Dead’ unit deactivated by Marines
  10. Revival of beer gardens in Milwaukee prompts other cities to consider it to shore up budgets
  11. Manatee status as ‘endangered’ draws complaints; classification under review
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.