Rockland man charged in series of flag burnings

Posted Nov. 03, 2010, at 6:14 p.m.

ROCKLAND — A man who reportedly admitted to burning several American flags that did not belong to him appeared in Rockland District Court on Wednesday.

Christopher Hodgkins, 22, of Rockland is being held at Knox County Jail on $1,000 cash bail.

The Rockland Fire Department was called several times in the course of a few days in late October after businesses found their American flags burned. Hodgkins told police he burned a flag that was attached to a pole at a Union Street apartment house, a flag attached to the side of the Brass Compass restaurant and a flag in front of George Jewelers, according to a police report filed at Knox County Superior Court.

The report indicates one of the incidents was witnessed on Halloween by a 20-year-old Rockland resident who was using an ATM at the Key Bank on Main Street, which is housed in a windowed room. The witness, who said he had gone to school with Hodgkins, told police that he saw the man come into the ATM room, rip a flag off the bank’s wall and then walk toward the street and pull out a lighter. When the witness confronted Hodgkins, he dropped the flag and ran, according to police.

After the witness called police, officers found Hodgkins at the Rockland ferry terminal. After running Hodgkins’ name through the police database, Detective Russell Thompson noted in his report that the 22-year-old might have schizophrenia.

Thompson said he asked Hodgkins if he could talk to him about some criminal mischief that had occurred around town.

“Mr. Hodgkins told me he would and then said it was probably his people,” Thompson wrote in his report.

Then Hodgkins reportedly began telling the officer about his discontent with American government. Thompson drove the man to the Police Department for an interview.

“During the drive, Mr. Hodgkins continued to rant about government and also began talking about being the inventor of a cure for every disease and other nonsensical topics,” the police report states.

When the men arrived at the police station, Thompson asked if Hodgkins had burned the flags and the suspect reportedly said he had. He then was arrested on a charge of aggravated criminal mischief, a class C crime.

In court Wednesday, Hodgkins engaged with Judge Joseph H. Field.

After alleging that he had been raped in Knox County Jail and that the jail had covered it up, Hodgkins said, “Quite honestly, I’m fed up with the American government.”

“It isn’t the American government, it’s the state of Maine that’s putting you in hot water,” Fields replied.

“I know America’s crimes, which are unimaginable. There is hell to pay,” Hodgkins told the judge.

Hodgkins refused a court-appointed lawyer. His next scheduled court appearance is on Dec. 29.

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