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An American flag burning caught on video in the parking lot of a Walmart in southern Virginia on the Fourth of July has led to the arrest of 23-year-old man.

Mitchell Lee Stauffer was not arrested over his First Amendment-protected right to burn a flag, but rather for allegedly burning an object in a public place with intent to intimidate, York-Poquoson Sheriff Danny Diggs said.

“The burning of our great American Flag is very offensive to most people including me,” Diggs said in the Facebook post. “That being said, the courts have ruled that act alone is an expression of free speech and not per se illegal.”

“This charge is appropriate under the Code of Virginia,” he said. “It is fortunate that no one was injured today.”

The statue Stauffer was charged under has been used in the past in cross-burning cases.

Mitchell Lee Stauffer, 23, charged with trying to intimidate people by burning an American flag in the parking lot of a Virginia Walmart. (Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail)

The incident took place around 9 a.m. Thursday at the Walmart in Yorktown.

The video shows a man in a hat and shorts throwing an American flag on the ground, pouring gas on it and setting it on fire.

“This county f—— hates you,” the man is heard yelling. “It wouldn’t give a s— if you die.”

The yelling made those who heard it very nervous, the sheriff’s office said.

The video was shot by a Walmart manager who hung up the phone when contacted by Fox News.

The Newport News Daily Press reports that the torching left a large scorch mark in the pavement.


  • Marlitt Arnouville says:

    He and kapernick need to be deported to Iran,if you can’t appreciate the freedom you have here, please leave

  • Bobby P says:

    I think it is time to bring back some good old fashion medieval style torture !

  • ROY MARLOWE says:

    I wonder if he had a burning permit? If not,
    fine him to the max.

  • Irene says:

    Burning the American flag is a hate speech more than anything and it is wrong. If you hate this country so much that you find it necessary to burn our flag then you don’t belong here. Many Americans have fathers, sons, brothers, sisters, daughters who served and many lost loved ones fighting for this great country or came home wounded or lost limbs. So we are compassionate about our flag and what it stands for. Please learn to love our country and our flag if you wish to stay on this country. We don’t want traitors here.

  • CF