Man faces arson charges after burning an American flag in Vail
Vail flag burning suspect turns himself in, faces arson charges
A Vail Valley man accused of burning an American flag turned himself Tuesday to face arson charges.
Mitchell Hamilton, 22, of EagleVail, is accused of burning an American flag on Vail’s Bridge Street around 3:30 a.m. Sunday, according to police dispatch logs. The flag had been hanging outside a Vail Village business, Vail police said.
After Vail police released a surveillance photo, Hamilton’s face was splashed all over social media.
Hamilton said he was contacted by friends who saw him on social media posts. He turned himself in at approximately 12:20 p.m. Tuesday to the Vail Police Department.
Hamilton is charged with second-degree arson and criminal mischief because he set fire to someone else’s property, not because he burned an American flag, Vail Police said.
“The Vail Police Department respects and protects all citizens’ ability to express their First Amendment rights. The flag was not Hamilton’s property and was posted on a building on Bridge Street,” the department stated in a press release.
In the same release, the Vail Police Department said the incident created a dangerous situation that could have resulted in additional items catching fire.
Vail police thanked the public for the numerous phone calls and tips received in reference to this incident.
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