Vail flag burning suspect turns himself in, faces arson charges
Mitchell Hamilton's face was splashed all over
A Vail Valley man accused of burning an American flag turned himself in Tuesday to face arson charges.
Mitchell Hamilton, 22, of EagleVail, is accused of burning an American flag on Vail’s Bridge Street at around 3:30 a.m. Sunday, according to police dispatch logs. The flag had been hanging outside a Vail Village business, Vail police said.
After Vail police released a surveillance photo, Hamilton’s face was splashed all over social media.
Hamilton said he was contacted by friends who saw him on social media posts. He turned himself in at approximately 12:20 p.m. Tuesday to the Vail Police Department.
Hamilton is charged with second-degree arson and criminal mischief because he set fire to someone else’s property, not because he burned an American flag, Vail Police said.
“The Vail Police Department respects and protects all citizens’ ability to express their First Amendment rights. The flag was not Hamilton’s property and was posted on a building on Bridge Street,” the department stated in a press release.
In the same release, the Vail Police Department said the incident created a dangerous situation that could have resulted in additional items catching fire.
Vail police thanked the public for the numerous phone calls and tips received in reference to this incident.
Snow usually comes and goes in this part of the state. A forecasted storm is expected to stick around for a while. Forecasters are calling for snow to persist throughout the weekend in the high country, with a prospect of a couple of feet of powder by the time the storm starts to diminish on Monday.