Man Doesn’t Stand for Pledge of Allegiance, Mayor Orders Police to Remove Him

A local Florida city commission meeting took an uncomfortable turn when a man sitting at the front declined to stand for the opening invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance. Winter Garden Mayor John Rees ordered police to have him removed.

The man, identified as Joseph Richardson, has reportedly sent emails to local officials asking to be able to deliver an invocation to make it more inclusive, as opposed to just being a very religious affair.

Richardson had a video camera rolling when everyone else stood up for the invocation. Mayor Rees told him to stand up, but Richardson refused. Rees left it alone, until Richardson said he didn’t have to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. That really set the mayor off, and he ordered the police to escort Richardson from the room.

“I just said, ‘Either stand or go in the hallway.’ He wouldn’t,” said Rees, 64, who was elected to a third, three-year term in March. “It wasn’t premeditated. I just reacted. It hit me. I said it. I gave him an option. … Life will go on.”

Rees said he considered the man’s refusal to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance to be disrespectful to American military troops who are serving overseas and others who have given their lives in defense of freedom.

Watch the video of the confrontation below, via the Orlando Sentinel (autoplay warning):

[image via screengrab]

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Follow Josh Feldman on Twitter: @feldmaniac

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