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4 charged in N.C. flag-burning case

Jan. 1, 2012 at 12:58 AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Jan. 1 (UPI) -- Four men are facing misdemeanor charges for allegedly burning two U.S. flags at the Occupy Charlotte protest site in North Carolina, authorities say.

One of the four charged Friday, Alex Tyler, 19, of Fort Mill, said he took part in the flag-burning "to display my utter contempt for American greed," The Charlotte Observer reported. He said it wasn't an act against the military and expressed sorrow for any trouble he may have caused the Occupy movement, the newspaper said.

The other three charged were identified as Jason Bargert, 28, of Charlotte, Michael Behrle, 23, of Matthews and Stephen Morris, 20, of Matthews.

While burning the American flag isn't illegal, setting a blaze outside a fire pit is and that's the misdemeanor the four were charged with.

The four were released after posting bail.

The flag-burning caused a rift in the city's Occupy movement, with at least 10 members issued a statement disassociating themselves and the movement from the incident. Some members called the flag-burning "hideous," "shocking" and "disrespectful," and called for the four men to be expelled from the camp, the Observer said.

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