FISHERS, Ind. (WISH) — Two 18-year-old men from Fishers were arrested Friday after a giant American flag was partially burned Thursday in the Nickel Plate District Amphitheater, Fishers Police Department said in a news release.
Christopher Graham and George Drake each face two charges of arson, a count of criminal mischief and a count of flag desecration. They were taken into custody about 2 p.m. Friday and taken to the Hamilton County jail in Noblesville, police said. Neither man was listed as being in the jail by 4:30 p.m., according to an online database.
The fire involving the 25-by-15-foot flag on the back wall of the amphitheater stage occurred sometime before midnight Thursday. Police were called about 8:30 a.m. Friday to the amphitheater near City Hall.
The flag was locked up as police evidence. The flag was the backdrop for the Fourth of July celebrations at the amphitheater.
Mayor Scott Fadness tweeted, “It’s unfortunate that someone or a few people thought this was a good way to celebrate the 4th. Our police and fire dept. will celebrate the 5th by trying to find them.”
The burning also sparked other outrage.
“The Supreme Court says you can burn the flag,” Scott Davidson said. “That doesn’t mean you should. I guess there’s a lot of things I can do. It doesn’t mean I should do them.”
Fishers City Council Candidate Adam Kaps said, “It’s concerning when you see anything happen in our community that is outside the norms of who our community is. And it’s certainly not a reflection of the people of Fishers, but its certainly concerning any time you see something like this happen. I think it’s primarily a reflection of our national politics and the rhetoric that we’re seeing on a day-to-day basis.”
Martha Yoder said, “You need to leave this country and find a place you’re happy at because Americans want to be here and we love our flag and we’ll never change. So, you need to go ahead and leave and find another place you’re happy at.”
Police said two other fires happened around the same time frame that could be connected.
At 12:05 a.m. Friday, a smoke detector went off after a piece of paper was set on fire in the elevator of Edge Parking Garage, which is near the amphitheater.
Also, during the early morning hours, multiple small fires were set at Sunblest Apartments.