News

South Carolina sheriff refuses to lower flag for Mandela

South Carolina sheriff refuses to lower flag for Mandela

MOURNING MANDELA: A South Carolina sheriff refuses to lower the U.S. flag out of a sign of respect for Nelson Mandela. Photo: Associated Press

CHARLESTON, South Carolina (Reuters) – The U.S. flag flew high outside a sheriff’s office in South Carolina on Monday in defiance of an order from President Barack Obama to lower all flags in memory of the late South African leader Nelson Mandela.

Pickens County Sheriff Rick Clark said he believed the lowering of the flag to half-staff was a tribute that should be reserved for U.S. citizens.

“To show a sign of respect for what Nelson Mandela’s done, I have no problem with lowering it in South Africa, in their country,” Clark told a local television station.

“But in our country, it should be the people, in my opinion, who have sacrificed for our country.”

On Friday, the sheriff’s flag flew at half-staff in honor of a South Carolina law enforcement officer who was killed in the line of duty and it remained lowered through Pearl Harbor Day on Saturday.

The flag was raised to the top of the mast on Monday, however, and the sheriff’s office said Clark would have no further comment beyond what he told a local TV reporter.

Obama ordered flags to be flown at half staff until sunset Monday.

South Carolina, in the heart of the old Deep South, has a troubled history when it comes to race relations and civil rights.

Governor Nikki Haley, a Republican and daughter of Indian Sikh immigrants, posted a tribute to Mandela on her Facebook page last Thursday.

Some commentators on the Facebook page later responded by calling Mandela everything from an “evil man” and “devout Marxist” to “a socialist goon.”

Sheriff Clark was far more respectful in the specific comments about Mandela he made on his own Facebook page.

“I urge you to read about President Mandela over the next few days of mourning and be inspired for public service for your community and the nation as he was,” Clark wrote.

Recent Headlines

yesterday in Sports

Sportscaster Craig Sager battling leukaemia

craig

The longtime sideline reporter is in the fight of his life.

yesterday in National

Making headlines this week

AP52048984409_2

A look at the week's top newsmakers and the stories you may have missed.

yesterday in Sports

This weekend’s sports schedule

blackhawks

A complete look at this weekend's sports schedule.

yesterday in Sports

Friday’s Sports Minute

stanleycup

Blues and Avs work overtime, Wainwright beats error-prone Nats, and more.

yesterday in National

Michael’s craft stores confirm data breach

michaels

The biggest U.S. arts and crafts retailer confirmed a security breach at certain systems that process payment cards.