A sheriff in Virginia is calling a decision by a group of Portsmouth County judges not to allow an American flag memorial to be displayed in the county courthouse a “slap in the face.”
“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,” Portsmouth County Sheriff Bill Watson told WTKR.
The Portsmouth fire department gave Watson the framed flag a few weeks ago. Watson hoped to hang the display, which is made up of fire hoses and titled “A Tribute to Public Safety,” in the courthouse lobby.
But county judges vetoed the idea saying that they do not want to set a bad precedent.
“Not only do we not want it on the wall, we don’t want it in the courthouse,” Watson said he was told.
One judge told WTKR said that he and the other judges don’t want memorials of any kind put on display in the lobby. If one is allowed others will have to be allowed as well, the judge said.
Watson is furious with the denial, especially since it is his deputies whose job it is to physically protect the courthouse as well as the jurists.
“They expect my deputies to put their life on the line for a judge,” Watson said. “If somebody was going to come into a courtroom with a gun, the deputy is supposed to stand in front of the judge and take a bullet, but yet they won’t let us have our flag, saluting public safety?”
“To me, that’s a slap in the face,” he added.
The judge who spoke to WTKR recommended that Watson hang the flag in his office.