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Kansas ACLU says city of Blue Rapids dropped charges against David Sain after he hoisted a flag

The Kansas ACLU said the city of Blue Rapids dropped the charges against David Sain after he hoisted an “F — Biden” flag outside his home.

One Kansan says he’s grateful he can continue to fly his “F — Biden” flag after his town drops all related charges against him.

David Sain of Blue Rapids was charged with “promoting obscenity” after being cited on Aug. 3 “for waving a political flag,” according to a press release from the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas.

The city dropped all charges on Tuesday, Dec. 7, according to the Kansas ACLU.

John McNish, attorney for Blue Rapids, was not available for comment when contacted by McClatchy News.

The Kansas ACLU, which works to defend constitutional rights, said it sent a letter to the city attorney saying “the lawsuits were unconstitutional and should be dismissed.”

“The prosecutor responded by doubling down,” according to the press release. “Once the Kansas ACLU got involved, the city announced it would amend the complaint to add an additional public nuisance complaint. Both charges were related to Mr. Sain’s exercise of his free speech rights, although the additional claim also attempted to blame other conditions on Mr. Sain’s property.

Sharon Brett, chief legal officer for the ACLU in Kansas, says the city should never have accused Sain.

“It was a blatant violation of the First Amendment,” she said in the press release. “Each of us, including Mr. Sain, enjoys a constitutionally protected right to free speech.”

The civil liberties nonprofit defended Sain with pro bono assistance from local defense attorney Sam Allison-Natale.

The Kansas ACLU said Blue Rapids amended the original complaint, dropping the obscenity charge, in October, but still pursuing a nuisance charge. The organization said it filed a lawsuit against the city, arguing that the accusation was “retaliation”.

“The criminalization of the political expression inherent in Mr. Sain’s flag strikes at the heart of the First Amendment,” said Josh Pierson, senior counsel for the Kansas ACLU. “Sir. Sane would not have been prosecuted at all if he had not been conducting First Amendment protected conduct. Not only is the charge unconstitutional, it also sends a frightening message to anyone who expresses a political opinion. with words that some might find offensive. ”

The First Amendment bans laws that limit freedoms related to religion, speech, assembly, and the right to petition the government.

“I am grateful that I can continue to speak with my flag without fear of prosecution,” Sain said in the press release.

Likewise, in August, the New Jersey Superior Court dropped the charges after a woman was sued for posting anti-Biden “profanity” signs, according to The Free Speech Project.

Blue Rapids is located in northeastern Kansas, approximately 160 miles northwest of Kansas City.

Kaitlyn Alanis is a national real-time McClatchy reporter based in Kansas. She is an alumnus of agricultural communications and journalism at Kansas State University.