A female Air Force veteran ended up in handcuffs after she took a flag from protesters at a Georgia university who were stepping on it and refused to give it back.
Michelle Manhart said she was tipped off by a student about protesters at Valdosta State University stepping on an American flag in protest. Manhart insists she didn’t plan on taking the flag originally, and only intended to pick it up off the ground.
“I did not want anything like this, but I got a call from a student who told me that the flag was on the ground, and they were walking on it,” she said. “I was just going over there to pick up the flag off the ground. I don’t know what their cause is, but I went to pick it up because it doesn’t deserve to be on the ground.”
In a video shot by a bystander, Manhart was seen clutching the flag tightly as students and police officers attempted to get it back from her.
“This flag actually belongs to the entire United States,” Manhart said as students told her she was stealing school property.
According to reports, the students were reportedly protesting racism – a cause that Mahart said she supports. She does not, however, support their method.
“If your cause is racism then find some white people and walk on them,” she said. “But to walk on the flag is walking on our symbol of freedom. You have the freedom to do what you are doing because of it. I’m not fighting against them. I’m fighting against the way they are going about it.” Manhart was detained by officers after a lengthy standoff, but was not arrested.
Valdosta State University officials issued a statement in response to the incident, but did not address the issue of the students stepping on the flag.
“We respect the rights of people to peacefully assemble and voice their opinions,” the statement read. “Our primary concern is the safety of our students, faculty and staff and our ability to carry out our responsibilities to all our students on campus. We are monitoring the situation.”
Watch the tense confrontation below.
Photo Credit: theblaze.com