Man Accused of Destroying Veteran’s U.S. Flag on 4th of July Faces Charges

Veteran’s truck with the two flags. (Courtesy photograph.)

A driver, accused of ripping an American flag from the bed of a veteran’s pickup truck on the Fourth of July, will be answering for the act in Haverhill District Court.

The veteran, who asked WHAV to omit his name, said he was at a stoplight Saturday afternoon in downtown Haverhill when he felt a shudder and thought his truck had been hit.

“Thinking I had been hit, I glanced to the passenger side mirror only to be greeted by an angry white male, around his mid-twenties, pulling up next to me with the stars and stripes balled up in his fist, screaming at me through my closed window before driving off,” he said in a social media post. He quoted the man as saying, “This doesn't belong to you anymore…This will never belong to you again!”

Haverhill Police Capt. Stephen J. Doherty Jr. confirmed for WHAV the man, who allegedly tore one of two flags from its pole, is being summonsed into court. Doherty did not disclose the man’s name, but said he faces charges of larceny under $1,200 value and malicious destruction of property under $1,200 value. Doherty said the incident took place around 5 p.m. at River and Washington Streets.

Before the incident, the veteran said he found “the response to my flags from those I passed was 100% positive, all thumbs-ups, waves, and cheers.” One of the two flags was the historical Gadsden flag— featuring a rattlesnake and the words, “Dont Tread on Me”—and the other was the stars and stripes.

The veteran followed the other man, retrieved his license plate number and filed a complaint at the Haverhill Police Station.

“I don't care what anybody’s politics are. You don’t destroy someone else’s property, particularly mine, and especially not my colors,” he wrote on social media.

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