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IOWA CITY - An Iowa City woman and an Ames man were cited by police on Thursday after they were caught lighting an American flag on fire on the Pedestrian Mall.
Kelli M. Ebensberger, 20, of Iowa City; and Paul M. Osgerby, 23, were both cited for open burning, according to the Iowa City Police Department. According to criminal complaints, Ebensberger is accused of holding a United States flag 'to enable another person to light it on fire.” Osgerby is accused of burning the flag.
The incident occurred around noon on Thursday at 100 E. College St.
Iowa City Police Sgt. Scott Gaarde said the charges have nothing to do with protesting or burning the flag specifically.
'They were not cited for what they were burning,” Gaarde said. 'They were cited for open burning and not having an open burning permit issued by the fire department.”
Gaarde said police also responded to the Ped Mall on Friday when dispatchers were notified of 'some kind of altercation” involving a dozen people and someone trying to light a flag on fire. There were no citations issued in that incident, Gaarde said.
'My understanding is an actual fire wasn't started,” he said.
Open burning is a simple misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine up to $650.
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