A man was riding his bike down a sidewalk near a courthouse when he suddenly came to a halt. Surveillance footage shows the man, identified as 29-year-old Matthew Emerson Reynolds, grab a nearby flagpole that was displaying an American flag and hurl it into the road. He then hops back on his bike and leaves, acting as if nothing happened.
The incident took place outside a courthouse in Denton, Texas, according to a report by the Daily Mail.
In the video, Reynolds can be seen strolling up to a crosswalk with the flagpole in his hands. Then, he tosses it into the middle of the street as a vehicle approaches the crosswalk.
After Reynolds threw the flagpole, another motorist who was passing by immediately pulls over, grabbing the flag and carefully putting it back.
Reynolds was likely unaware that his actions were captured on camera. The Denton County Sheriff’s Office reached out to the community on Facebook, allowing the public to help identify the man in the video.
It wasn’t long before local law enforcement learned his identity, leading to a warrant being issued for his arrest.
Reynolds has an arrest record, including previous charges of trespassing and lying to law enforcement.
Now, Reynolds faces charges of criminal mischief after it was determined that he actually damaged nine flags over the course of that day, though this is the only incident that was caught on camera.
Reynolds’ actions violate the Flag Code, regulations that require “respect for the flag.” He could face up to 180 days in jail as well as fines if convicted.
“I don’t care what your political affiliation is. I don’t care how you feel about the flag,’ Denton County Sheriff Tracy Murphree stated. “I don’t care how you feel about the president. You can’t destroy other people’s property.”