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City, county: Flag violates nuisance ordinance

Homeowner sues govts for harassment

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Brandon Adams is not one to give in to a challenge. So when the city told him to remove the flag he flies outside his house on Kingston Road, he decided to fight for what he feels is protected speech.

“You may not like it,” Adams said. “Just don’t look at it.”

The flag in question bears a four letter word that begins with the letter “f” and concludes with the current president’s last name. Since the flag is political, Adams believes it should be regarded as political speech and should be left alone.

The City of Kokomo and Howard County government officials, however, disagree.

Adams said the trouble began for him when one of his neighbors, Howard County Plan Commission Director Greg Sheline, told him he needed to take down the flag. Adams said he is not the only one in Kokomo to fly that particular flag, and he has a friend who has a similar flag displayed who has not been asked to remove it.

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The city’s code enforcement office deemed Adams in violation of the nuisance ordinance, which includes offensive language. According the City of Kokomo’s Code Enforcement website, “A property within the city limits of Kokomo is a nuisance and in violation of both state and local law whenever that property is deemed injurious to health; indecent; offensive to the senses; or an obstruction to the free use of property so as essentially to interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property.”

After being told by multiple city and county officials that the flag is obscene and must be removed, Adams said his girlfriend received a ticket on a car parked outside his house and noticed someone was looking at her through her truck window. Instead of removing the flag, Adams is suing Howard County and the City of Kokomo.

“I feel like we’re being singled out because of who our neighbors are,” Adams said. “I don’t like being intimidated.”

Adams said he originally was not as firm on keeping his flag out, but the actions of city and county officials upset him and made him want to fight back. So far the two sides have agreed to allow the flag to fly pending further discussion in court.

“I want an apology,” Adams said. “We were intimidated and harassed.”