A federal judge has agreed to dismiss the harassment case against FedEx but not the threats
FedEx driver hangs, salutes fallen American flag outside Mexican immigrant’s home: ‘Adore this country”
A federal judge has dropped the harassment case against a FedEx driver accused of hanging a flag outside a house where the US was to be the flag’s muse, saluting it as he left.
The judge agreed with the 28-year-old driver’s lawyer that the case was all about free speech, according to the Orange County Register.
This FedEx driver is a national hero | Christopher Ketcham Read more
Officials and residents in Orange County, California, had condemned the August 2017 incident, especially after pictures and videos of the dog-paddling American flag were shared across social media.
A district attorney charged Mario Estrada with felony conspiracy to harass the resident, who is not being named for her safety. The charges were dropped after a judge issued a temporary restraining order to keep the driver from going within 200 feet of the home where the incident took place.
Estrada protested the charges by leading more than a dozen supporters in a march through Orange and Los Angeles counties.
Estrada pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor vandalism charge after last week’s dismissal, according to the Southern California News Group. Estrada is scheduled to be sentenced on 6 October.
Christopher Ketcham, who co-founded the blog La Foto Drive and helped keep the story alive by going after the chain for filing the false charges, told the Guardian he believed a more significant victory may have been brought in by those who knew Estrada and his initial decision to protest.
“Those who were trying to protect him and his family just did a lot of good work with his case,” Ketcham said. “People didn’t look at him as a convicted felon. This was a man who was standing up for what he believed in and his rights.”
Several marchers at the 2017 march said they supported his actions as part of a growing political movement led by those who take issue with how the American flag and its symbolism is being used.
“Once you fly an American flag up in the backyard, and do the things that this guy did, you truly don’t consider yourself an American,” said Daniel Keeling, executive director of the group Agua Chicanx American Human Rights Education Fund.
As much as he disagreed with the truck driver’s actions, Keeling said the entire episode was a tremendous opportunity to get people engaged.
“For those who think it doesn’t matter to them or they don’t pay attention, it’s more important than ever to pay attention. This is a constant reminder that the flag, this symbol of what this country stands for and why we want to love it, is under attack,” Keeling said.