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Accused of burning flag during protest, man admits to prior arson conviction, denies he lit up flag

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MILWAUKEE -- In the heat of protests outside the Republican presidential debate in Milwaukee on Tuesday evening, November 10th, FOX6 cameras captured an American flag on fire. The video has since gone viral -- but now, the man at the center of it says he didn't do it.

Hundreds took to the streets of downtown Milwaukee on Tuesday evening -- protesting in support of a number of different issues.

Protests in Milwaukee during GOP debate

Protests in Milwaukee during GOP debate

One small group is now getting the most attention.

Corey Kirkwood protesting during GOP debate

Corey Kirkwood protesting during GOP debate

Corey Kirkwood is not shying away from his message on Tuesday -- but he is denying what he says he's being accused of.

"I was basically displaying my First Amendment right. I didn't ever put anything on fire down at the convention last night," Kirkwood said.

Kirkwood stepped on the American flag, and laid next to it while it was on fire.

But he says he's not the one who lit it up.

"I had my freedom of speech to stand on that flag, to lay next to that flag that was burning," Kirkwood said.

Corey Kirkwood standing on American flag

Corey Kirkwood standing on American flag

"This particular character attempts to cause trouble every time he goes to a demonstration. We protected his right to be an (expletive)," Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn said.

The flag was taken by police and folded ceremoniously before it was put away as evidence.

"I think they did that flag proud and this police department proud just as officers did who first extinguished it and rescued it," Chief Flynn said.

Milwaukee police officers fold burned flag

Milwaukee police officers fold burned flag

Chief Flynn says the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office is reviewing this case for possible charges.

"Setting fire to a flag is protected speech. The challenge is what's the venue in which you choose to do that? I would assert setting fire to something in the middle of a crowd of people is an inherently dangerous act. We will bring those charges forward," Chief Flynn said.

Corey Kirkwood

Corey Kirkwood

"I'm not running from no one. I didn't do nothing wrong," Kirkwood said.

This case is under review, but right now, it's the court of public opinion that's judging it.

Kirkwood says he is being harassed by police, and is considering a lawsuit.

Police brought up an arson conviction Kirkwood had in his past -- and he admits to that, but says that incident is behind him.

American flag burns during protests during GOP debate in Milwaukee

American flag burns during protests during GOP debate in Milwaukee


    • molon labe

      “There is a class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs-partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.” BOOKER T. Washington


    Here’s one; If a person is that unhappy in America, please take your last paycheck and get a ‘oneway’ ticket to another country, burn your visa-its that easy! Lets’ see how much freedom you will have then. You will come crawling back to your country and kiss the ground once you realize how good you had it. Freedom of speech is great, however to destroy our Countries hertiage/flag for which it stands- is horrible. Granted, America hasn’t been close to perfect, but we have come a long way in 250+ years(thats a short time). Whereas; there are countries that are still living in the ‘cave man’; days from 15k years ago. So be happy and be blessed and work with God has given you.

  • jeff

    Funny thing about technology, you can lie all you want about not doing sonething, but having it video taped and posted on facebook for everyone to see is kinda hard to DISPUTE

  • a duh

    Mr Kirkwood, you seem to have built a name for yourself amoungst the Milwaukee PD. You, sir, are a certain kind of STUPID. Your “first amendment” khem “right”, has made you a large type of problem. Thank you to the men in blue who didn’t allow this IDIOT a chance to continue to destroy a flag that stands for the country he is living in requesting his “rights” from. Good job Chief Flynn.

  • Fox 6 News Editor

    Although our motto here at Fox 6 is “Because you matter” we delete comments that oppose our liberal agenda as determined by our owners (The Chicago Tribune) because in reality “You really don’t matter”.

  • Craig MackIntosh

    Strip him of citizenship and send him to Nigeria or Liberia (US Purchased land for the emancipated slaves to go to if they wanted to leave the US. So I believe the land is still ours or perhaps theirs so send those who don’t like it here there. Bye Bye!!

  • Bear(ex-communist)

    Actually setting the Flag on Fire is a VIolation of Law and can be deemed for possible arrest, and a fine

Comments are closed.