- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A Virginia sheriff is outraged after judges told him he couldn’t hang an American flag display donated by a group of firefighters in the Portsmouth County courthouse lobby.

Portsmouth Sheriff Bill Watson said his agency was recently given the framed American flag as a gift from the Portsmouth Fire Department. It’s made from old fire hoses and is accompanied by a sign that reads, “A Tribute to Public Safety,” a local CBS affiliate reported.

Sheriff Watson said his request to have it mounted on a wall in the courthouse lobby was swiftly denied.

“Not only do we not want it on the wall, we don’t want it in the courthouse,” the sheriff said he was told.

Sheriff Watson called the decision “the most asinine thing” he’s ever heard in his life.

“They expect my deputies to put their life on the line for a judge,” he told the CBS affiliate. “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.”

A judge, who did not was to be identified, told the news station that the decision was made because officials don’t want any display or memorial of it’s kind positioned in the lobby when people walk into the courthouse.

“The judge said if you allow one type of display, then you will have to allow all types,” the station reported. “The judge said having the display in the lobby sets the wrong precedent.”

The judge also said the sheriff is more than welcome to hang whatever display he wants in his own private office, which is located on the first floor of the building next to the lobby, the station reported.

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