A patrol trooper removed a Confederate flag from his house in Washington after a public records request caught the eye of his superiors.
Washington State Patrol Trooper James Manning replaced the Confederate flag with an American one above his garage door, reported K5 News Monday.
Manning’s grandfather had passed the Confederate flag down to Manning, who said he was unaware of the symbol’s “implications,” State Patrol spokesman Kyle Moore told The Kitsap Sun.
Washington State Patrol trooper, who hung a Confederate flag above his WSP vehicle at his home near Silverdale, said he wasn’t aware of the “implications” of the symbol: https://t.co/pUsYAaAEzd by @a_binion pic.twitter.com/DvHyI3RGPx
— KitsapSun (@KitsapSun) June 25, 2018
Moore reported that Manning would not be investigated for misconduct because the trooper was not the subject of an official complaint. The person who reported the presence of the Confederate flag did so directly to The Kitsap Sun and not via the State Patrol’s public complaint line. The spokesman said no rule prevents Manning from flying the flag on private property or above a state-owned vehicle, but one patrol policy forbids officers from “bring[ing] discredit to the department or themselves.”
“To [Manning] he was honoring his family and history, he had no ill intent,” Washington State Patrol Lt. Dan Sharp told The Kitsap Sun.
But the flag could pose problems for Manning in the future if he investigates a racial minority.
“If I ever have a trial with this trooper that involves a minority defendant, I will move to admit the photograph as a racist act under rules that allow defendants to explore bias of those that testify against them,” attorney Adrian Pimentel told The Kitsap Sun. “There is considerable persuasive authority for admission of this photograph. Courts have consistently held that the Confederate flag is legitimately viewed as a symbol of white supremacy.”
Confederate flags have heralded trouble for other law enforcement members. A South Carolinian police officer got terminated in 2015 after posting a picture of himself wearing Confederate flag underwear five days after the Charleston, South Carolina, church massacre by Dylann Roof, who also posed in pictures with the flag. (RELATED: Cop Fired After Wearing Confederate Underwear Gets $55,000 Settlement)
A Roswell, Georgia, police officer got fired in 2016 for flying the Confederate flag outside of her home.
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