ACLU Files Free-Speech Complaint Against Mashpee Select Board Member

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MASHPEE, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — The American Civil Liberties Union is accusing a Town of Mashpee Select Board member of violating a resident's free-speech and religious rights after she did not stand for the pledge of allegiance during an April meeting.

Select Board Member and military veteran John Cotton said that he found it offensive that a Mashpee resident was not standing for the pledge of allegiance at meetings, but did not name that person specifically.

"When someone does not stand for the pledge of allegiance- I personally find it incredibly offensive," Cotton said at a Select Board meeting on April 11, "even more important, we have members of our military in uniform in this room, and that is an incredible sign of disrespect."

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Wendy Williams, who did not stand, said that her religious beliefs condone her from standing for a pledge of allegiance to inanimate flags.

Williams went to the ACLU, who sent a letter to the Select Board on May 10, claiming that Cotton had, in an official capacity, publicly denigrated a Mashpee resident for exercising her constitutional rights.

WBZ's Tim Dunn (@ConsiderMeDunn) reports.

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