Portsmouth Sheriff Bill Watson is known by many for his candor. So no one was surprised when a group of judges told him he could not hang a unique American flag display in the courthouse lobby, he replied by stating it was “the most asinine thing I’ve ever heard in my life.”
According to the Western Journalism, the image of the flag in the framed display is made of old fire hoses. It was given to the sheriff’s department as a gift from Portsmouth firefighters and a sign beneath it reads, “A Tribute to Public Safety.”
Watson, who has been the sheriff in Portsmouth, Virginia for nearly ten years, said he was furious after the group of judges told him to take down the display. He said he was told, “Not only do we not want it on the wall, we don’t even want it in the courthouse.”
WTKR reported that a judge who asked to remain unidentified said it was decided that the lobby of the courthouse was not the appropriate place for the display. He explained that they did not want any type of memorial or display in the lobby when people walked into the courthouse. The thought behind the decision was if they allowed one type of display, then they would have to allow all types.
The judge added that Watson could hang it in his office if he wanted, which is on the first floor right next to the lobby.
Watson said he just might hang the flag in the window of his office and wouldn’t take it down, even if it meant going to jail.
“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,” he said.
The latest WTKR update reported that the flag display was removed from the lobby and has found a new home.