A Greenfield, Massachusetts, police officer is under community pressure for displaying a Confederate flag in his garage. The officer, Sargent Dan McCarthy, is the Greenfield Police Department’s official liaison to the town’s Human Rights Commission.
The flag, visible when McCarthy’s garage door is opened, was photographed and uploaded to social media by Lindel Hart. Lindel and husband Rod are two white parents with an adopted black son, Hugh Hart, 10. They live next door to McCarthy.
MassLive quotes Rod saying that his son, “has become increasingly away of police antagonism against young black males and is understandably worried” by the flag next door. Rod then continued that Hugh asked for “Santa to bring him white skin…so he won’t get shot” we he leaves home.
According to WesternMassNews, the flag had caused a controversy in the town.
WesternMassNews quotes Greenfield resident Ken Kruk on whether he takes issue with the Confederate flag. “Personally, I don’t because I have one myself. It’s some beliefs I have about the south, it’s not about hatred.”
Police chief Robert Haigh was also quoted, saying, “Our private lives are not necessarily our private lives, when we take a position and people know you’re a police officer, whether you’re on duty or off duty.”
As the Recorder reports, Rod and his husband have convinced their son that he is safe in Greenfield, and that the police department is a “benevolent brotherhood of peacekeepers.”
However, Rod also told the Recorder, “I can no longer make excuses for the police or try to convince my son that they are not a hateful, racist brotherhood, when our neighbor acts this way.”
Chief Haigh has since confirmed that the flag has been taken down.
As MassLive reports, Greenfield Mayor Bill Martin stopped by the Hart’s home. Rod Hart explained in a Facebook post that Martin came to “shake our hands and hug Hugh and … let him know that he is committed to making Greenfield safe for all.” He added that he was “touched” by the visit, and thought it “unexpected and kind.”
Chairman of the Greenfield Human Rights Commission, Lewis Metaxas, will be holding a meeting to discuss the controversy on December 14. He told the Recorder, “I want to, and want the commission to, take a serious look at the matter fairly.”