A veterans group alleges in a federal lawsuit that officials violated its free-speech rights when they banned a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag from a city-owned armory.
The lawsuit filed last week in federal court says New Rochelle’s action, in addition to being unconstitutional, was “unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious” and betrayed a lack of appreciation of history.
The City Council had ordered the flag down in March, citing complaints that the yellow banner with a coiled rattlesnake was making a political statement. The flag has been used as an unofficial symbol of the tea party since at least 2008 and is often seen at party rallies, tax protests and gun rights rallies.
But the lawsuit, filed by the United Veterans Memorial and Patriotic Association, offers a long history of the flag, which has been used by the U.S. military since 1776. And it says none of the veterans who raised the flag in March are tea party members.