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Video: Judges Tell Virginia Sheriff to Remove American Flag Display from Courthouse

March 11, 2015  | 

VIDEO: Judges Tell Virginia Sheriff to Remove American Flag Display from Courthouse

Portsmouth County, Va., Sheriff Bill Watson says he is furious after a group of judges told him to take down an American flag display.

Sheriff Watson said his agency got the American flag display as a gift from members of the Portsmouth Fire Department a few weeks ago. It’s made of old fire hoses with a sign beneath it that reads, “A Tribute to Public Safety.”

Watson said he requested to have it mounted on the wall in the lobby of the courthouse but was shocked when he was told by the judges, “Not only do we not want it on the wall, we don’t want it in the courthouse.”

Watson said, “I just can’t believe that they don’t want to display the American flag in a courthouse, I mean that’s the most asinine thing I’ve ever heard in my life.”

NewsChannel 3 spoke with a judge who didn’t want to be identified about the issue. The judge told us it was decided that the lobby of the courthouse is not the appropriate place for the display.

The judge told News Channel 3 the Sheriff can hang whatever he wants in his office, which is located on the first floor of the building next to the lobby.

Watson says if it comes to it, he will mount the flag in the window of his office and would rather be sent to jail than take it down.

Comments (14)

Displaying 1 - 14 of 14

Garry M Walton @ 3/11/2015 1:53 PM

I note the judge did not want to be identified. May be he/she is ashamed of being an American.
Could it be he/she,can't tolarate patriotism failing to recognize the pledge of alegence to flag?
And all it stands for in the harts of all true Americans. God bless America.

David Watson @ 3/11/2015 6:20 PM

I bet if he would have hung the Mexican flag, there would have been celebration. Might have even called La Raza down and had the press show up. Bet the judge would have wanted to be seen and identified then. Perhaps a UN flag would be more appropriate?
Perhaps it's time in America we clamp down all on the power we have allowed judges. What would the judge do if the community had the guts to just show up and put it up anyway; and the Sheriff and all Deputies refused to arrest anyone if the judge orders such?
Why not name and shame the judge anyway? I have a name for the judge; COWARD.

Pat Heller @ 3/12/2015 1:35 PM

Who are these people who are systematically destroying our country? I am an American, I am proud of my country and the flag that is a symbol of my freedom. Long may it wave!

Tom Ret @ 3/12/2015 2:42 PM

Judges should be named and shamed with their pictures broadcast so everyone can see who these bozos are.

Ftrnr @ 3/12/2015 2:47 PM

The judges need to be named so they can be defeated next election. Is it not a courthouse in which American laws are used? Do they not serve because of the American Constitution?is the courthouse not in America? Thank you Sheriff for holding onto our beliefs.

Bob Douglas @ 3/12/2015 3:02 PM

Funny how folks representing that flag, defending that flag in the military and as first responders placed those judges where they are. Those same folks took an oath to protect those judges, and their collective right make that kind of wrong decision.

I hope the same judges never require the services of someone in Texas. who remembers this

Semper fidelis.

Pat @ 3/12/2015 3:36 PM

Virginia. The state that FOUNDED, (according to some historians), this country at Jamestown, just a few miles from Portsmouth, the first President of the Congress c of this country, Williamsburg, again, just a few miles away from Portsmouth, Yorktown, where we soundly defeated the British to end the revolutionary war, yet again, just a few mile from Portsmouth. Also in sight of the Hampton Rhodes Harbor, where the Monitor and the Merrimack fought it out to an iron clad statement. And some IGNORANT, FOOLISH, POLITICALLY MOTIVATED so called judges have the BALLS to say the Flag of this GREAT COUNTRY can't be displayed in the very building that passes for jurisprudence (which ALSO sees its birth in Williamsburg)! I for one VIRGINIAN am embarrassed by these TORIES, REDCOATS in black robes, COWARDS to stand for what so many have bled and died for. SHAME, SHAME on all of you, and especally the one that refused to give his name. REAL men / women, VIRGINIANS, Patritos would have stood ground!!

Hospitalchief @ 3/13/2015 9:19 AM

If the judge tells the Sheriff he can mount it in his office, then it must not be against the law to display the American Flag in a public building. The Sheriff, as did the sheriffs in Colorado needs to stand up and defend his actions and force the judge to bring forth any ordinance, county law or state statute that mandates American Flags cannot be displayed in courthouses. He is only a judge, grow some balls and tell him no! That building is owned by the citizens of his county, not the judge!!! Force him to come out of the shadows!!

BT @ 3/13/2015 7:50 PM

Sheriff should have refused. The judges are part of the Judicial Branch of Government, which interpret the laws, not the executive branch, which enforces them. Hey Judges, "quit out stepping your bounds"!
This was not a court matter, and the court had no jurisdiction in it! I hope they appeal, and the Judges are identified publicly by name.

Robert @ 3/13/2015 9:16 PM

If you're an elected official in a public building how can you choose to hide your identity when you make a decision like they made.

Greg @ 3/18/2015 3:20 AM

Sounds like the chief judge led the charge against the flag and had several of the lower judges go along with him.

These are the Portsmouth County Circuit Court judges:

•Hon. Johnny E. Morrison, Presiding Judge, Chief Judge
•Hon. James C. Hawks, Presiding Judge
•Hon. Kenneth R. Melvin, Presiding Judge
•Hon. William S. Moore Jr.

patrick @ 3/20/2015 10:16 AM

IT was not a flag that was asked to be removed. It was a representation of the flag made of old fire hoses. It should be displayed in an office or an art museum, but not a court house, which already displays a flag.

Andrew @ 3/22/2015 7:32 PM

Patrick I agree with you whole heartedly. You are in my opinion, the only person that seems to get it. Put the firehouse representation of the flag, made of old fire hoses, at a firehouse.

Michael @ 4/4/2015 6:15 PM

I Watched Old Glory

I watched to behold, Oh Glory, flying so bold
In the light of a bright blue sky
The wind passing through as she waves so true
And my pride was lifted high
Hand across our chest, knowing our nation is the best,
As she flies in the morning sun
So, lift her high and let her fly over our land,...
where the cry for freedom had all begun

And let us stay the course, with no remorse,
for the foundation has been laid
Remembering the sacrifice of all the lives,
for an awesome price has truly been paid
The courage she declares with the message she bears,
Of freedom without fear
So when you see her fly, waving in the sky,
With freedom, lift up your voices with cheer!

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