Portsmouth Sheriff furious with judges after being told to remove American flag display from courthouse

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UPDATE: The flag display was removed from the lobby, but it has now found a new home.

Portsmouth, Va. - Portsmouth Sheriff Bill Watson says he is furious after a group of judges told him to take down an American flag display.

Sheriff Watson said his agency got the American flag display as a gift from members of the Portsmouth Fire Department a few weeks ago.

It's made of old fire hoses which a sign beneath it that reads, "A Tribute to Public Safety."

American Flag DisplayWatson said he requested to have it mounted on the wall in the lobby of the courthouse but was shocked by what he was told.

Watson said he was told, "Not only do we not want it on the wall, we don't want it in the courthouse."

Watson said, "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."

NewsChannel 3 spoke with a judge who didn't want to be identified about the issue. The judge told us it was decided that the lobby of the courthouse is not the appropriate place for the display.

He said they 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 judge said having the display in the lobby sets the wrong precedent. The decision is upsetting Watson and others.

Watson said, "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."

The judge told News Channel 3 the Sheriff can hang whatever he wants in his office, which is located on the first floor of the building next to the lobby.

Watson says if it comes to it, he will mount the flag in the window of his office and would rather be sent to jail than take it down.

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97 comments

  • Voice of the People

    Johnny E. Morrison – Chief Judge
    James C. Hawks
    Kenneth R. Melvin
    William S. Moore Jr.

    These are the judges at the Portsmouth courthouse. They DID NOT want to be named for obvious reasons and did not want to be held accountable for their decision. Spread the word to get their names out there and make them own up to their actions.

  • prob

    Hmm… what to do what to do. Aha. Fake some outrage on a fake issue to get some mass media exposure. Yeah that’s the ticket. Versatile interchangeable phony sheriff or cheap clown at kids party. Same same.

  • Ed

    I would gladly work for a Sheriff like this. If I were him I would make sure every Deputy had a United States Flag patch on their uniform. Don’t give up without a fight because these judges seem to have forgotten or don’t care that they swore to uphold the constitution and laws of the this great nation in which the Flag is a symbol of. Every courthouse in American should have the Flag in the Courtrooms, the hallways, and on a flag pole outside. We are in the United States of American and anyone in this country should be made aware of that, especially in our courtrooms. By refusing to allow the display of this symbol of freedom is showing that they are not worthy of protecting the rights of the people of this country in which our great Flag represents. The laws they uphold are the Laws of the United States of America and nothing more. If you’re not proud of our Country enough to honor our Flag and our Public servants then get out of our courthouse and frankly, get out of the country because you are not fit to be a judge.

    • Ed

      I would also like to ad that I am aware that this is not the Flag bug that it is a piece of artwork made to Honor our Flag, Public Servants, and our Great Nation.

    • CelticKnight

      Have you no respect? First off, HE IS…THE SHERIFF! NOT a deputy! Secondly, do you not personally support First Responders or Law Enforcement? Maybe they should not respond if you need them bub!

  • Joyce

    Well now that the police and firefighters see how much these ashats care about their daily life threatening jobs the police can just look the other way when dangers approach these sorry judges. Oh and the firefighters can take a long deserved break when one of these ashats needs rescued or their house needs a fire put out…just let it burn.

  • James C.Turner

    If the Judge don’t like this Country let him leave and him man up and put his name out their.Also a lot of Men and Women has died for our Flag and still fighting for .its terrible that a Judge would do that. No Respect. I have served this Country and very Proud of our Flag.

  • prob

    Attention all mental midgets! Gather round and fall prey to the deputies fake outrage as he lays claim to act as interior decorator for a public building he does not own. Watch in awe as he masterfully wastes precious time with a phony baloney issue, thereby not actually enforcing a law or protecting and serving the public from which he is paid. It’s not a flag, it’s kindergarten art made from old hoses. Those of you who are emotionally and mentally deficient take heed now and reach for the tissues while falling under the spell of the deputies tirade.

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