Charge dropped against man who burned flag at RNC in Ohio

The American flag waves above a domestic auto dealership in Rockville, Md., Sunday, April 12, 2009. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

CLEVELAND (AP) — The man whose case led to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the burning of the American flag being protected by free speech no longer faces a charge over another flag-burning at last summer’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland. reports ( ) court filings show prosecutors last week dropped the misdemeanor assault charge against Gregory “Joey” Johnson. A city spokesman didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment.

The 60-year-old San Francisco man was arrested after he set an American flag on fire during a July 20 protest near an RNC security entrance.

Johnson’s attorney says the charges were politically motivated.

Johnson’s torching of a flag at a GOP convention three decades ago led to the landmark 1989 U.S. Supreme Court decision that said flag-burning is protected by the First Amendment. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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