A Utah Department of Corrections officer is under investigation for flying the Confederate flag outside his home.
The unnamed Adult Probation and Parole officer was placed on administrative leave following a neighbour’s complaint in Salt Lake County.
The flag, which represented the southern states that sought to defend slavery during the American Civil War, has been a huge subject of debate amid Black Lives Matter protests.
Check out a news report regarding the flag complaint below:
Explaining that she tried to speak to the homeowner, Mahone added:
The officer, he’s outside walking his dog and I said, ‘Hey, why do you have this?’ And he just sat there. He didn’t say anything to me. He just had his arms folded, like yeah, just straight-faced.
The subsequent day, Mahone returned to the property, but this time, she was faced with a woman who lived there. After she asked, ‘Then why don’t you just have the American flag up?’, the unnamed occupant replied, ‘Why can’t we have both? They are both for the United States.’
Liam Truchard, who also works with Department of Corrections, later confirmed to the outlet that the officer has been ‘placed on Administrative Leave pending the results of an investigation’.
This comes after both the Senate and House of Representatives approved bills that would see Confederate paraphernalia stripped from US military bases, attracting the ire of US President Donald Trump, who has previously defended the controversial flag.
However, as aptly noted by Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, whose three military bases tribute Confederate generals: ‘Do you really expect us to believe that a society that continues to honor those who tried to destroy our country to save slavery will be serious about ending the racial disparities that exist today?’
With regards to this specific incident in Utah, Seth Brysk, the Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League, said, ‘We cannot assume the intent of the person who’s displaying. So I think coming to them with a certain understanding and saying… helping understand why this is offensive. This is a teachable moment.’
However, fellow neighbour Wendy Knowles felt the officer was making a statement. ‘To know that he works for the public as, like an AP&P officer, he is around people that you know he could have an effect on,’ she said.
Trump reportedly ‘erupted’ following Defence Secretary Mark Esper’s Pentagon memo that effectively banned the Confederate flag from the nation’s military locations, however there’s been no further update regarding the National Defense Authorization Act.