$35K settlement reached in lawsuit by man for flag-burning arrest
CHICAGO — A central Illinois man has settled a lawsuit filed against the Urbana Police Department for his 2016 arrest following a Facebook posting of a picture showing him burning a U.S. flag.
Bryton Mellott was represented by the American Civil Liberties Union in his lawsuit for which he will receive $15,000 with the settlement. He will also receive $20,000 for attorneys’ fees.
The 22-year-old Mellott’s lawsuit was filed against four members of the Urbana Police Department who arrested him on Independence Day 2016 under Illinois’ 1989 flag-desecration law. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled the law unconstitutional that year.
In June, U.S. District Court Judge Colin Bruce ruled burning a flag was constitutionally protected free speech and allowed the lawsuit to continue.
The Urbana Police Department and the officers’ attorney were unavailable for comment Monday after the announcement of the settlement.