- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 2, 2014

An angry Florida mayor ordered police to escort a man from a recent City Council meeting after he refused to stand for the opening invocation and for the Pledge of Allegiance.

The man, Joseph Richardson, had reportedly emailed the local government authorities to request that all opening prayers at the council meetings be more inclusive and less religious, Mediaite reported.

He then attended the most recent meeting, headed by Winter Garden Mayor John Rees, and sat in the front row.

Mr. Richardson shot video as everyone stood for the invocation. Mr. Rees asked him to stand, but he declined.

Mr. Richardson then refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance — and that’s when the mayor lost his cool and ordered police to escort him from the room, Mediaite reported.

“I just said, ‘Either stand or go in the hallway.’ He wouldn’t,” Mr. Rees said, the Orlando Sentinel reported. “It wasn’t premeditated. I just reacted. It hit me. I said it. I gave him an option … Life will go on.”

Mr. Rees said he found Mr. Richardson’s refusal to stand during the pledge an affront to U.S. troops serving overseas, and to those who’ve died during service to the nation, the news outlet said.

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