Jacksonville, FL – The mayor of Jacksonville has declared that a store may keep its U.S. military flags up after a city inspector ordered them to be removed.
On Monday, a Jacksonville city inspector entered the Jaguar Power Sports dealership, demanded that their display of military flags be removed, and told a military veteran that he “did nothing for this country,” according to store employees
City inspector Melinda Power went into the dealership at about noon on April 16 and announced that the flags the business was flying on the roof were in violation of city code, WJXT reported.
The rooftop display included a flag for each branch of the U.S. military, two American flags, and one Jacksonville Jaguars flag, WXIN reported.
“We cater to our men and women, both retired and active military, so it was personal,” store manager Marcy Moyer told WJXT. “We felt like it was a personal attack.”
While Power issued a written warning citation for illegal display of flags on a roof, a customer inside the store spoke up. He told the inspector that he felt it was wrong to force the business to remove flags that support the U.S. military.
The unnamed customer also happened to be a military veteran.
"She says, 'What did you do for this country?'” employee Katie Klasse recounted. “He says, 'I took three bullets to the leg. I almost lost my leg for this country. I'm retired. I'm a veteran.'”
“She gets in his face this close and says, 'You did nothing for this country,'" Klasse said.
Surveillance footage showed Power as she thrust her finger in the man’s face, just before she stalked out of the building.
Jaguar Power Sports decided they would not heed Power's warning to remove their flags, and instead posted a Facebook video about the incident on their business page.
Tripping over his own words because he was so angry, Sean told the story of how a city employee came into their business and insulted a military veteran.
“We just had the city of Jacksonville here, on site, to cite us for our military flags. That’s right. We just got a ticket in the city of Jacksonville – military-bound city – for flying military flags. They cited us for every flag… a lady by the name of Melinda Power that works for the city of Jacksonville regulatory compliance department said to one of our customers in store… he was questioning her on it because he was shot three times at war… she says to him ‘you’ve done nothing for our country,’” Sean explained.
“With all the other crap going on around town, they’re citing us, the business owner, for flying military flags in a military town. Are you serious right now?” the clearly frustrated man asked, and then called on viewers to share the video and contact the mayor of Jacksonville.
The video had been viewed more than 5 million times, and shared almost 250,000 times as of Tuesday morning.
Within hours of the video being posted, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry issued two tweets, and said he had “directed city staff that military flags should be treated [the] same as [the] U.S. flag.”
“Let them fly,” Curry wrote. “We support our military and veterans, and we appreciate businesses who honor their service.”
According to WJXT, Curry’s chief of staff, Brian Hughes, said that the mayor’s office was “disturbed by some of the claims made” regarding Power, and that they were “reviewing the facts.”