Flag burning at Jonesboro intersection stopped by incensed citizen

JONESBORO, Ark. – Around 6 AM Friday morning, just as the sun was rising over Jonesboro, Paul Jay DeFord was driving to work.

At the corner of Highland Drive and Red Wolf Boulevard, something unusual caught his eye, he told NEA Report.

“I saw something on fire,” DeFord. “I said, “Is that the flag?”

DeFord said two unknown-to-him masked men were burning the American flag at one of the busiest intersections in Jonesboro. One wore a black mask with a skull on the front of it while the other had a hoodie on.

“I have a strong military family background and that is not cool,” DeFord said. His father served in the National Guard and both grandfathers served in the military, as well. “If we let two or three bullies start coming into our city and burning things, then soon we will have 50 coming in burning things.”

The video shows what happened next. DeFord recorded as he angrily got out of his vehicle. With a few expletives attached, he told the two men, “Not on my watch.”


“I felt bad for dropping the foul language,” DeFord said. “I don’t normally talk like that but when you’re worked up and mad…it just struck a nerve with me.”

The two men can be seen quickly departing in a white SUV as DeFord, a 6’3″ 250 pound bodybuilder, charges toward them through traffic.

“I literally got out in traffic and traffic [screeched to a halt] and they looked up and saw me and didn’t want any part of it,” DeFord said.

DeFord said his reason for filming was to try to get their license plate number or some other way to identify the individuals, who he believed were from out of town.

In comments, local residents reported seeing another flag burning at an intersection nearby. At least one photo of another flag burning was captured.

Photo posted by Denice Fowler via Facebook

From a purely legal sense, flag burning is considered a form of “symbolic speech” that is protected by the First Amendment, the U.S. Supreme Court (narrowly) ruled. Some lawmakers have since proposed the Flag Desecration Amendment which would provide punishment for desecrating the American flag. Only a constitutional amendment could overrule the Supreme Court’s ruling.



  1. I can understand this man anger but one has to remember all the military personnel that fought and lost THIER lives or injured fighting to keep Americans freedoms.This ppl where exercising those exact freedom I do not agree with leg burning at all but unfortunately these people I believe have the right the protest the government ways that many don’t with. I for one do not believe in flag burning either too many lives have been lost under those stars and stripes.god bless our servicemen and God bless America

    • You’re messed up. Telling your Mom you love her and your protecting her is your right and obligation, NOT setting fire to her hair and telling her you hate her and want her destroyed. No difference; you either love and support your Country/Mom or you don’t.

  2. BS…any person expressing their opinion does not hide their face under a mask. This was a piece of trash person trying to get attention. Oooraay to my brother vet for stepping up.

    • Sad the local commie regime doesn’t have your smarts, Robert. The mayor supports the local rioting and wants to join in according to his statement on here a while back.

  3. Law in Arkansas. Jay was just about to make a citizens arrest.. $1000 fine and up to a year in prison for burning a flag in Arkansas Arkansas code 5-51-207 and 208

  4. Well done Paul. These wanna be terrorist scumbags need to get the hell out of the US as we the silent majority have had enough of this kind of BS !

  5. The flag of the United States should be treated the same respect as an individual set laws to that example and defended by law makers if the soldiers are asked and paid the ultimate Price defending then should we start voting out government disagree with the majority of the people by the peaple

    • Dad, what are you doing on social media😂. I found you👀
      But for real, burning the flag is extreme and uncool…. it won’t fly in Jtown.

  6. Geez I agree ! Id like to thank this guy for standing up not only the flag. But for Jonesboro..he is right, we are better than this, about time somebody stood up to this !

  7. Paul Jay, I am proud that someone has the nerve to stand up to these people. Whatever is allowed will only get worse. These people should be held accountable for their actions. I believe in freedom of speech, but to me, this is just people being mean, disrespectful, and trampling on our love for our country. If they hate it so bad, they just need to leave. Too many lives have been sacrificed to fight for the flag that they were burning. Good for you! We need more men to stand up as you did.

    • Sharon, This is protected free speech, the Supreme Court already said so in Texas v. Johnson. I find it incredibly funny that people like you always talk up freedoms, their love of the Constitution, this country, etc. but as soon as somebody exercises that freedom and you don’t like it then it is no longer a freedom.

      Freedoms are free and the price paid for them is that you may have to hear and/or see something you don’t agree with. I don’t want people I disagree with to leave the country, it’s one of the great things about America, where citizens can do things like this but I guess you and a lot of others would rather have it like North Korea where a person gets put in jail or worse for showing disrespect to the government. No, just no.

      Those same people that sacrificed their life for that flag also sacrificed for people who feel the opposite. That’s the reality of the situation but nobody wants to acknowledge it nowadays because your opinion or feelings are the only ones that are right or that matter.

      • Fine, then I am just going to grab a bunch of my crap. Bring it down to the road and set it on fire by the street. We will call it protesting. Most cities have burn ordinaces, but I guess now its ok for me to just burn stuff whenever I have a point to me. So from now on everyone just set stuff on fire in city by the road to make a point. Burning stuff is ok now in jonesboro. BLM and everybody let go burn our stuff in jonesboro since burning is the new compliance. Im done here. This is not peace. There is nothing peaceful about burning things in hazardous areas to make a point. Enjoy all the arsonist moving to town this just the welcome party. When you mad make a fire.

        • MP, you obviously just blab at the mouth without knowing what you are talking about. Yes, burn ordinances exists in the city and there are burn ordinances for the things you mention bringing and burning (ie protests), for obvious reasons. Again, the Supreme Court ruled that this is Constitutionally protected free speech but again you don’t want to protect the Constitution…unless you agree with how it is used. Fires are allowed for ceremonial/recreational purposes in the city according to the ordinances as long smoke emissions do not lose a safety hazard, which it looked like these didn’t but bringing a pile of trash would.

          It seems to me you aren’t worried about the facts, about the Constitutionally protected freedom these people attempted to exercise and it looks like they lawfully did because I haven’t heard the JPD or JFD put out any alerts concerning them. I could be wrong and something unlawful took place here but so far it doesn’t seem like it. Stop making strawman arguments and look at the facts.

          • And you like to here yourself talk but no one’s insulting you. Burn what you want where you want hey its a ceremony right. For the record I am a Constitutionalist. That doesn’t necessarily mean I’m a federalist smarty pants

          • “MP, I obviously just blab at the mouth without knowing what I am talking about.” Years of sucking on my crack pipes has done that to me.

          • Wow! Your fight is baseless. Respect our free speech and leave me alone Anthony. I have never crack. Im a legal studies and pysch major and 8 yr vet. Go away! Since you love right respect mine and try not to burn anything down or JPD will wake up and stand up against you and your arsonist friends. Sound like a burn permit request needs to be considered to truely define peace.

          • Everyone sane hopes you are right about JPD stepping in, MP, but this mayor and chief of police have put JPD officer in jeopardy on a regular basis because they are like the crazy nutjob mayors and governors in the burning cities and I don’t see much evidence that is going to change. During the street rioting here (peaceful demonstrations my black behind) the thugs were trying to hurt/kill officers, attacking other citizens who got in their vicinity and damaging private and city property yet the mayor was quoted as wanting to join their next riot. People of Jonesboro need to wake up and take a stand like this guy who stood up to the flag burners, one of which was most likely Anthony under one or more of is fake names and hiding behind his mask and hoodie.

          • The fact that you have to make up asinine assertions about me speaks volumes about you. I have no idea why facts and people defending other people’s constitutional rights is a problem these days with many. It says a lot…

        • Hmmm…I like to “hear” myself talk? No, I like to present factual evidence despite how I may feel personally about something. I’m not in favor of burning anything but people have their rights despite how I may feel. For the record, I never said anything about anybody insulting me. When you resort to insults in a debate, that means you’ve already lost your argument.

          • If you were not just looking for someone to spar with you would see that I said do what you want. I have also state over and over to i felt its wrong when and where. You do not here that anthony because you are not a good human
            You are a bored troll who has homed in on me. You have selective hearing like a child and you are all emotion no logic. So its personal for you. Whats even more interesting is you are looking for a fight and picking out peices of an argument that matters least but gives you fuel. Go away. Just like you respect their right to burn down the city, where is my free speech rights. Oh I forgot its ok for you to disagree just not others. Please do not doubt my professional knowledge about the subject and please do NOT crush my right to free speech by trolling with your verbal abuse and online bulling. You cant change my mine. This loose view of the constitution is why our country is confused and resentful. Laws do not change without a challenge. Now, go away hypocrite. I wasnt talking to you and I did not ask for you to single me. Go AWAY Troll. You will not change my mind. You probably a racist too. You have went far out of your way to justify following me around. In a trash ben or a non windy day. Im from dry territory. Burning is not a sign of protest its a sign of destruction. Fires spread. I FEEL that that fire could have gotten worse fast. How fast do you think it could catch a building? You do not know do you. I have put out fires that started from something small in the wind.Go away.

          • I am not looking for somebody to spar with, I am just trying to explain how this isn’t as un-American as some people try to make it out to be.

            I’m not homed in on you so don’t flatter yourself. I have responded to multiple people and would continue to do so if they responded back. You happened to so I have responded back to your comments.

            My logic is the facts that I have presented, not sure sure how I have presented no logic. Maybe you could be a little more specific?

            “Burn down the city”? OK, it’s that type of hyperbole that I respond to. You exaggerate things and make them much bigger and worse than they are.

            You too have rights to free speech and I will defend your rights to that just like the others I have defended. As I just noted, it is OK for you to disagree just don’t inflate the truth.

            Again, burning the flag was challenged and was found to be constitutionally protected right of free speech. You may deem it wrong and you’re free to think that but the people that were put in place to make those decisions and interpret the Constitution have deemed it so.

            How exactly have I been hypocritical? How have I said anything remotely racist? Are you perhaps projecting?

            Again, I respond to you but I have responded to several others as well.

            I’ve discussed the fire issue, the ordinances, etc. as well.

          • Anthony I think burning the flag IS disrespectful. The same flag I draped over 7 of my marines casket as returned from war. I think its dangerous because from the video I saw two disturbing facts. One the wind was blowing the burning pieces. Have you ever seen a house or pasture ablaze from indirect fire? Especially while most of the people on there even children maybe sleep, I have. Its not pretty. Two because. They can not do this where they come from but we help them to have more rights and they choose burning the flag I represent and buried my friends with. You see anthony, i am a disabled veteran. 5 surgeries. You right they can do this if they want. I question why be here if you hate it. I do not want my children to growup thinking its ok to destroy property in protest. I do not want them to see destructive behavior as a means of grievance. This amendment doesnt give them a right to imprint destructive behavior to young on the process, nor risk burning down. I am done we are getting nowhere and I value my time. Haveca nice day!

          • You’re free to think burning the flag is disrespectful. I haven’t said anything against that. The flag being draped over the caskets of fallen soldiers is an appeal to emotion fallacy. Are you supposed to stop eating meat because vegans view animals as their friends? I would say no.

            I agree, there certainly seemed to be safety issues but that isn’t what I initially responded to but it was brought up later on. If that is the worry, that should have been the initial argument. Again, look what I initially responded to in this thread and my response. It was about this person’s freedoms and you start talking about dragging all your trash and burning it which is a strawman argument. We’re speaking about two, totally separate things.

            Where they come from? How do you know they come from another place and are not U.S. citizens? Even if they are not from here, I am glad they are free and are exercising rights they don’t have elsewhere and so others should be as well, even if they disagree with them. That’s a beautiful thing about this country.

            Again, more appeal to emotion fallacies. You’re service or think of the children are not what the discussion is about here. Raise your children how you want and they won’t be so impressionable, especially by others.

            The amendment gives them the right to free speech, whether that free speech is destructive is up to interpretation.

            You have a nice day as well, sir or madam.

          • We are done Anthony, enjoy your free speech I paid for it. It wasnt free but it is to you. I pray this freedom doesnt start a real fire nor teach a child to burn things in public for their beliefs, but if you say thats ok to then pay the fire Department better. Sound like arson. My question is if they did start a rogue fire after hours would they turn themselves in. We will never know because they ran. Semper Fi

          • God/prayer is the right answer, MP. Thank you for your sacrifice and for understanding that God’s sacrifice is what gives us hope. Look up. Maranatha.

          • There is no need to keep bringing up fallacies. If the true concern was fire or destruction why wasn’t JPD/JFD contacted? Why haven’t they put out a warning, warrant or otherwise?

            Arson is the destruction of property that is either not your own or done for some type of gain (eg insurance payouts). If I want to buy a new dresser and burn it I can, I cannot however do it and claim it on insurance. There is a difference.

            Why keep bringing up the ifs? If you get in a crash today, is the other driver going to drive off, if you go into a gas station is it going to get robbed. That’s a poor argument in a debate.

          • I would think it’d be on a news source. I’ll admit, I could be wrong and may have missed such a story but I haven’t seen anything out yet concerning these people from either JPD or JFD.

          • So, your statements of no police or city involvement could also be a fallacy. Listen stop! I am trained in this and catching people up in their words and acts. The windy conditions and possible danger or misinterpretation are not enough proof for you. You are cosigning on a bad facts. I wish you the best and please choose your battles. Maybe support someone who is really being mistreated they are not. I was born black and in AR I would never destroy something to make a point. I have proof that what they are doing looks bad than you do that they have received no reprimand or complaint.I went off what saw which looks bad. Don’t let your good be evil spoken of.

          • I have proof it was a fire. It blew in the wind and it’s was in a complicated and controversial location. I based my words off these facts. You said that nothing happened or will. You have no facts. Who is misinformed and making assumptions only you.

          • No, my statements are not a fallacy. I encourage you to look up the definition of that word.

            Trained in what exactly?

            Again, I’ve recognized the behavior and have said whether it was dangerous/destructive is up for interpretation. That isn’t factual.

            I can support whatever I like and in this case I am supporting another’s free speech, as I have repeatedly stated.

            You wouldn’t destroy something in order to make a point but other have, do, and will continue to do so. The world doesn’t revolve around what you would do.

            It’s easy to get proof. Call the JPD or JFD and see if there has been any sort of complaint, acknowledgement, etc. If you’re that worried about the safety of such actions, I would figure a person like yourself would have already taken the action of contacting such authorities, no?

          • You need jpd to verify your statements of facts I only broke down the facts. Setting anything on fire to me because you do not agree TO ME is wrong and establishes a destructive pattern. This is what happens when we try to interpret the constitution. We make things worse. It says peaceful. Uncontrolled fires are not peaceful. I actually witness a small spark catch a 400 acre farm on fire. Barns horse and all. Just a spark in the wind. That was reckless protest or not it should require a burn permit and fire marshal consent. So now you are a fire marshal too.

          • And I know what a fallacy is. Again legal studies and psychology. I am trained to test witness testimony and court trials. I personnally do not care if they did or did not responded. They have enough on thier plate and have my full support. This is a question for a fire marshal. They exist.

          • You’re doing good! You see that “Anthony” is just pulling liberal crap out of his ugly butt and not letting truth and facts get in the way of his lunatic agenda.

          • I don’t need JPD or the JFD to verify anything because I never claimed they did or did not receive a response to the protest. I just said I have not seen or heard however that is easily verifiable.

            This is the problem. My entire argument is about how YOU feel. My entire argument is that these people exercised their constitutional rights. The Supreme Court, you know that entity that is actually responsible for interpreting the law, has said that it is a constitutionally protected right. You may think it is wrong but your opinion does not matter legally but the Supreme Court’s decision does and just like if you happened to believe 65 MPH is too fast to go on the highway it doesn’t matter because the law says people can travel that fast. It doesn’t matter if you saw a spark cause a fire just like it wouldn’t matter if you saw a crash on the highway because the law is the law.

            Again, if you believe it needs to require such a permit then reach out to JPD, JFD, the city council, etc. You just saying it isn’t going to get it changed and your opinion on the matter, does not matter legally based on the Supreme Court’s verdict and the ordinances currently in place in the city of Jonesboro. Those are the law. If you believe they need to be changed, you’re free to think that but it would be better if you actually put it in action to tried to get it changed.

            If you know what a fallacy is then you would realize me saying that the JPD/JFD have not issued any statements regarding the incidents is not one. Not sure what your studies or training have to do with recognizing what a fallacy is because guess what, they can be used in court they are just very poor arguments.

            I don’t know why you keep bringing up the fire marshal as I have repeatedly said JFD, you know Jonesboro Fire Department? If they deemed it inappropriate, a fire hazard, or something else then hopefully they issued something concerning it and hopefully since you are so concerned about that issue, you reach out to the fire department and voice those concerns.

            Thank you.

          • Homer, what agenda do I have? Liberal? Hmmm…I am an independent. Ugly…lunatic. Again, this is part of the problem. Why can we not have civil discussions about these things anymore without the petty insults and assertions? Oh well, once you have to resort to insults in a disagreement, you’ve already lost your debate.

      • Anthony, you are too stupid to live. The kind of anarchy you defend is Freedom’s #1 enemy. Your ignorance tells me you think it would be ok to set your empty self on fire in the intersection. Your “anything goes” attitude is not tolerated in any successful society. You should be ashamed, you and every low-life like you.

        • It’s not anarchy. I never said “anything goes” so please don’t put words in my mouth. Your post is full of assumptions and misnomers and not facts. It’s a Constitutionally protected form of free speech which you don’t necessarily agree with (for the record neither do I) but they have a right to do it and even though I don’t agree with them I will defend their rights just like I defend everyone else’s, even those that I don’t like.

          • I’m un-American because I stand up for other people’s rights even when I disagree? That’s funny

  8. I am a veteran. I served 8 years as a combat medic with the 82nd airborne. We did not fight or die for a flag. We did it for YOU to have the right to burn any dam flag you want. Though I myself would never desecrate our flag,I believe in their right to do so, as much as the 2nd amendment rights. Do not be triggered by idiocy.

    • So, its ok to burn your belonging out on the curve in the city limits by an intersection. It was stupid, unsafe and publicly destructive. Peace protest does NOT include burning your belongs in town

  9. Way to go jay my brother, God has given us this imperfect but great nation that has been defended by great patriotic American who have paid the ultimate price, that Flag has been there through it all fighting enemies foreign and domestic, we are able to raise our family in peace, I don’t care if someone thinks that people have the right to burn the flag it doesn’t matter what the law says it’s still wrong.

    • But regardless,this fruit loop has no authority over it. Maybe calling in concern of a set fire in town but to screech on over to them was ridiculous yet I got a hysterical laugh over reading this noodle’s Screeching tale of his very self implied heroics. Little wiener syndrome makes for great laugh material.

      • Heather, you come across as part of the trash involved in burning the flag and other criminal activities. Better keep that mask on so you’re not identified and picked up on some of your outstanding warrants.

  10. In 1989, The Supreme Court Ruled that burning the flag was a form of symbolic speech in a 5-4 decision! Although, I don’t agree with it because there are other ways to protest if you’re angry! LIKE: GO AND EXERCISE YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE!!

    • Thanks, Cheryl. Somebody needs to educate the leftists. Too bad they have so much poop between their ears that they can’t hear you.

  11. What’s the difference between this and making the flag in black & white and putting a blue line across it and asking people to support it, either way it’s still desecrating the american flag.

  12. I guess this very forceful, angry and pumped up citizen doesn’t give a shit about possible traffic accidents he could have caused during his so called Screeching halt to save us all!! What a nosey twat..move on Bobby Rae…

    • No Heather, if there was and accident my foreign friend, they are being a public menace by the highway. Burning stuff on the curve is a distraction to traffic. With the right lawyer you and your family would be liable. Burning things in dangerous places is not peaceful protest. Just like blm in the highway distracting traffic. The flag burning was done in city limits and in a dangerous place. Not peaceful protesting. Distracting traffic is what was intended and this is exactly what it did, hence the man jumping out of his vehicle. You would loose this case. Safer place with your disrespectful acts. I do not get it. Why live here if you want to burn the place. Its an ungrateful act to me. You could go home and fight for your life everyday. As a woman you would not be tolerated. Bit here you are free. Then you burn our flag and call us bad. While you live better than you have ever lived before.

  13. Kudos to Mr. DeFord!!! Jonesboro is cursed with a mayor who enables and encourages all kinds of criminal behavior (as long as it’s not against his precious self) and more and more it’s up to citizens to defend our flag, our country, our town. Even the uniformed officers are put at risk because of the current demented rulers (who actually believe they own us) and their anarchist policies. The liberal lunatics who support destruction of the United States of America are too ignorant/stupid to realize how blessed they are to be here and should all go live in China, Russia, Venezuela, or any of the other hell holes whose failed politics said liberal lunatics support!

  14. Too bad the ignorant bastards didn’t set fire to themselves. Thanks to any and all willing to stand up to the crazies like this guy did.

  15. Says the people with cheap, tacky, made-in-china flags, stickers, sweatshop t-shirts, and ugly flag decorations … hypocrite much?

    • I say it’s yours, you do what you want, but it sends a mixed message to children and just others. It tells them it’s ok to set stuff on fire on the corner of the highway. It tell others it is ok to burn stuf when you protest. Which laws matter here, or do we even care anymore. I did not fight for violent and destructive protest. Especially at a dangerous intersection. Wow!

  16. I loved seeing the patriotism displayed on Highland dr yesterday by our Jtown citizens in response to this flag burning story.

  17. Burning my flag should be a federal felony and considered an act of treason. Leavenworth for anyone commiting treason desecrating our flag in ANYWAY. No stepping on it, no using it for anything other than it hanging for the benefit of American allegiance and support! How can “ANY” AMERICAN do such a thing? I say federal prison or save us from housing & feeding the sob’s with immediate deportation!

    • Amy Smith, I hope you were at the flag rally last week lambasting those who were wearing the flag as shirts, caps, etc. since you feel this particularly strong about the issue.

      • Poor Anthony can’t see the difference between proudly displaying our flag and disrespecting and burning it.

        • The poster I responded to said the flag should be nothing but hanged for allegiance and support. Wearing the flag does not fall into that category, does it? I have no problem with it being worn as a shirt, cap, patch, or otherwise. I have no issue with it being on a pole, flaying at a house, or displayed otherwise. It seems, based on their own remarks, other people do not feel that way so I am asking for clarification.

          • Blah, blah,blah, blah, blah…. Too bad the abortion your mom paid for removed only what was to be your brain, Antny.

          • This is what is really wrong with America right now. We cannot sit and have a civil discussion with each other without hurling insults and assumptions at others. It’d be nice if there was some civil discourse, compromise, and mutual understanding between everybody nowadays but I guess that is just not possible?

          • The moment people decide to destroy things in protest think of a child throwing tantrum. I am done at point. Nothing peaceful about setting fires in a public place in town with the wind blow fire around. We can not talk till the destructive behavior is recognized.

          • I’ve recognized the behavior but I’ve stated whether it is destructive is left to interpretation. You might think it is but others might not but why does it need to be recognized to act civil? There is no need for the name calling or anything of that nature at all despite that in a civil discussion.

          • History Buff, how exactly am I wrong? If you can point out any of my statements that are untrue it would be greatly appreciated.

          • Just curious but why do you smart people even bother with nuts like Anthony? Lost people like him never listen just keep blabbing nonsense.

          • Just curious, why am I a “nut” in your opinion? Simply because I don’t agree? Because I have stated facts? Let’s stay on point and avoid the name calling, it’s petty and I would hope it is above you.

  18. So this angry guy violates the law threatening people with real harm and you misguided people cheer him on.

    Good for the flag burners. Bad guy objecting to it just anouther evil misguided idiot who drank the trump kool aid

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