Advertisement

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

Judge: Inverted flag veteran's rights violated

May. 28, 2011 - 09:05AM   |   Last Updated: May. 28, 2011 - 09:05AM  |  
  • Filed Under

LOS ANGELES — A federal judge ruled that a veteran's First Amendment rights were violated when he was told he could not drape an upside-down American flag on a fence at a Department of Veterans Affairs complex.

Army veteran Robert Rosebrock, 68, has demonstrated every Sunday since March 2008 in front of a fence surrounding a large grassy lawn at the VA's sprawling compound in west Los Angeles. He is protesting the VA's refusal to develop land there into a homeless shelter.

Rosebrock, who sued the VA with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, said he placed numerous American flags on the fence without issue for more than a year. But when he inverted the flag so the union stars were along the bottom, VA police told him to take it down and he was cited for "unauthorized demonstrations."

The flag is sometimes flown upside down as a distress signal.

U.S. District Judge James Otero issued a mixed ruling Thursday. While he found Rosebrock's free speech rights had been violated, the judge declined Rosebrock's request for an injunction that would have allowed him to display upside-down flags in the future.

Otero wrote that Rosebrock's "conviction to shine light on the plight of homeless veterans is undoubtedly laudable," but that allowing upside-down flags on the fence would not be in the public interest.

ACLU attorney Peter Eliasberg said he was considering appealing the ruling. A call to the VA in Los Angeles was not immediately returned

Prosecutors dismissed Rosebrock's citations before he filed the lawsuit, which didn't seek any monetary damages.

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 Army Times

This Week's Army Times

2015 career forecast
Fewer promotions, more force-outs

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