Air Force Veteran handcuffed during VSU protest speaks out

Published: Apr. 19, 2015 at 10:07 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 19, 2015 at 10:15 PM EDT
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VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - A Valdosta veteran is speaking out after being handcuffed during a protest on Friday for trying to keep people from walking on the American Flag.

Michelle Manhart is a 14-year Air Force Veteran and said she wanted to stop protestors from disrespecting a symbol of our country.

This is cell phone video shot by Michelle Manhart's daughter during a protest at Valdosta State University.

Watch as police try to take the American flag out of Manhart's hands.

"Mainly they kept saying give me the flag and we won't give it back. I knew that wasn't true and that's why I wouldn't let go," said Michelle Manhart, Air Force Veteran.

The incident occurred after Manhart heard about the protest where demonstrators were walking on the flag. Manhart said she made several complaints to the University.

"They had thrown it on the ground, they were walking on it, kicking it, you know making different motions against the flag itself," said Michelle Manhart.

But the protests didn't stop, so Manhart decided to take matters into her own hands.

" I saw the flag, I walked up, I picked it up and I walked away," said Manhart.

Manhart says she got upset when police gave the flag back to the demonstrators.

" I got a little unprofessional and called him a not very nice name because I was extremely upset that he told me one thing and he did something completely different," said Michelle Manhart.

Manhart was taken into custody, but wasn't charged. The university did ban her from all campus activities, but Manhart said she doesn't have any regrets.

" If I had to do it again I would," said Manhart.

And the Air Force Veteran says she will continue to honor and protect those who serve our country.

"Our men and women that don't get to come home, the same way they left are wrapped in that. It's draped over their caskets during their funerals. Same with our police officers, our firefighters. Our American Flag is our American Symbol," said Manhart.

The video has been viewed more than 3 million times.

Manhart is a member of the Combat Vets Motorcycle Association. They plan to show their support of the American Flag by riding circles around the VSU campus on Friday during Flags Over VSU.

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