Portsmouth, Va. (CBS DC)– A Virginia sheriff says he’s furious after a group of judges forced him to take down an American flag display at a courthouse.

Portsmouth Sheriff Bill Watson says his agency received the patriotic display as a gift from the local fire department, as reported by WTKR.

After requesting to have the flag display mounted on the courthouse lobby wall, WTKR reports Watson  received a response saying, “Not only do we not want it on the wall, we don’t want it in the courthouse.”

“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,” Watson said.

A judge who requested to remain anonymous told NewsChannel 3 there were several reasons for not displaying the flag. The judge said if you allow one type of display in the lobby, then you have to allow all types of displays. The judge noted that they don’t want any sort of display or memorial positioned in the lobby where people enter. Watson was reportedly told that he is free to hang whatever he likes in his office on the first floor of a neighboring building.

“They expect my deputies to put their life on the line for a judge. 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,” Watson said.

WTKR reports that Watson will mount the flag in the window of his office if necessary and that he’d rather be sent to jail than remove it.


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