Mayor Defends Council Member Who Spoke at Event With Flag Burning

( – One of the most controversial acts an American citizen can carry out is the burning of the US flag. It’s widely viewed as the ultimate sign of disrespect. A Chicago alderman recently attended an event where people did exactly that. Now, the city’s mayor is defending him, and the alderman is speaking out against disinformation.

On March 22, Alderman Byron Sigcho-Lopez attended a protest outside of Chicago’s City Hall organized by the group Behind Enemy Lines. Attendees spoke out against the war in Gaza and demanded officials cancel the Democratic National Convention.

Marine veteran Zachary Kam reportedly burned an American flag he once flew while he was in Afghanistan before the alderman arrived at the event. The veteran is against the war and allegedly wanted to protest President Joe Biden’s administration’s position on Israel.

The backlash to the event was swift. Some of Sigcho-Lopez’s colleagues reprimanded him for speaking at the event after the veteran burned the flag. At least 15 aldermen have moved to remove him as chairman of the City Council Housing Committee.

Mayor Brandon Johnson (D) defended Sigcho-Lopez at a news conference. He said he could be offended by the decision to burn the flag, but recognized the person had a “fundamental right” to do it. He told the press that he didn’t know why it was “being debated,” and called it “quite disturbing that, as a city, [they’re] having a conversation about protected speech in America.”

Further, Johnson said it was “morally reprehensible and irresponsible” that there was a discussion of punishing the alderman because he was in the presence of someone else who was exercising their rights.

Sigcho-Johnson released a statement making a similar stance and defending Kam’s right to burn the American flag.

In 1989, the Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in Texas v. Johnson, ruling the First Amendment protects flag burning.

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