Submitted by: Veronica Coffin
A U.S. military veteran was detained, then banned for life from Valdosta State University (VSU) in Valdosta, Georgia, for taking an American flag from a group of black protesters who were defiling the flag by trampling on it.
Adm Floyd reports for The Valdosta Daily Times, April 17, 2015, that Michelle Manhart, an Air Force veteran, was detained by VSU police after she approached a group of protesters on campus who were walking on an American flag and took it from them.
Manhart said, “I got a call from a student who told me that the flag was on the ground, and they were walking on it. I was just going over there to pick up the flag off the ground. I don’t know what their cause is, but I went to pick it up because it doesn’t deserve to be on the ground.”
Manhart was taken into custody by VSU police officers who then returned the flag to the demonstrators.
Manhart told The Valdosta Daily Times that she had resisted arrest after seeing the flag being returned. But the protesters reportedly declined to press charges against Manhart, so the VSU police also declined to press charges against her for resisting arrest. Instead, Manhart was given a criminal trespass warning which effectively bans her from any university activity, including graduation and football games, said Andy Clark, VSU vice president for enrollment, marketing and communications.
The demonstrators declined to identify their group to The Valdosta Daily Times or speak with a reporter about their cause, but one member of the group told a VSU student that putting the American flag on the ground and walking on it was “a symbol of our protest. When a slave understands his situation and understands he doesn’t want to be in slavery, he does not respect or revere anything his slavemaster has put in front of him.”
Dr. William J. McKinney, President
Valdosta State University
1500 N. Patterson St.
Valdosta, GA 31698
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