Military funeral protesters could be arrested on flag desecration charges

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KMOV.com

Posted on January 7, 2011 at 3:11 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 9 at 4:21 PM

(KMOV.com) -- There is no hiding the public outrage against members of the Westboro Baptist Church, a Kansas congregation committed to protesting at funerals of servicemen and women with controversial signs and behavior.

News 4’s Marc Cox has come across critical information that could be a game changer and may make church members think twice before ever coming back to Illinois.  If they do, and they protest like they did Thursday at the funeral of Lance Corporal Kenneth Corzine in Bethalto, state police say there will be arrests. Click here for details and photos of Thursday's protest and counter-protest.

A viewer pointed out that protesters stood on the American flag. Illinois’ flag desecration law considers this a class 4 felony.

There was a heavy police presence at the funeral in Bethalto, but they made no arrests because some were apparently unaware of the law.

Lt. Brad Parsons says officers’ focus was on crowd safety, but he says the issue will be addressed with Westboro.

Parsons also says it’s unlikely that the group will face arrest now that the event is over. However, if the group returns, police will be looking for the violation in the future.

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