Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Vets sue city that ordered Gadsen flag down

Aug. 2, 2013 - 06:58PM   |  
Peter Parente
Peter Parente, president of the United Veterans Memorial and Patriotic Association, holds a Gadsden flag outside an armory on April 26 in New Rochelle, N.Y. (Jim Fitzgerald / AP)
  • Filed Under

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 seen 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 U.S. 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.

Answers by RallyPoint

Join trending discussions in the military's #1 professional community. See what members like yourself have to say from across the DoD.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan
Rates

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.


This Week's Marine Corps Times

This Week's Marine Corps Times

Uniform demands
Marines call on CMC to bring back silkies and tattoos

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

Classifieds
MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.
Woman who cried rape
(3 replies)
   Last Post: TJMAC77SP
        May 3, 2014 1:32 PM
   Last Post: garhkal
        May 1, 2014 5:03 PM
Cliven Bundy
(45 replies)
   Last Post: Chief_KO
        Apr 26, 2014 9:49 AM
Handbooks

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook