Mayor flies Mexican flag to honor murder victims - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Mayor flies Mexican flag to honor murder victims

October 7, 2005

Tifton- Hayward Fowler and a group of supporters went to city hall on a clear mission.

"I came here to remove the Mexican flag, because it was being flown improperly with the United States flag," But the Mexican flag wasn't flying.

Fowler owns and operates a local access channel in Tifton. He and a number of his viewers grew angry when Mayor Paul Johnson and City Manager Charles Howell decided to fly the flag below the United States and Georgia flags this week.

"Most of them are offended that the Mexican flag is flown on the pole with the United States flag. They don't want it on there. That's most of them," Fowler says.

He says others are mad because they say it violates proper flag protocol.

"When flags of two or more nations are displayed they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height. The flags should be approximately equal size, and international usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in a time of peace," Fowler reads from a document about flag protocol.

Fowler supporter and U. S Army veteran Kano Goff is also upset.

"We have no business flying another flag especially under the United States flag," Goff says.

"We agreed to fly these flags at half mast for six day in recognition of the six individuals who lost their lives," Howell says. He says the city has also received its share of calls from across the country supporting the decision to fly the Mexican flag.

But the city manager says the flag was taken down Thursday because it was damaged. He and Johnson had planned to replace it with another, but he says because of all of negative attention it caused, members of the Hispanic community asked them not to put it back up. "I thought the Hispanic community showed a lot of understanding, a lot of class, and that's something that all of us need to consider," Howell says.

Now city leaders are hoping the flap about the flag will soon be over and a commitment to mending relations in their community can begin.

The American and Georgia flags were flown at half staff Friday because a member of the legislature recently died.

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