Air Force veteran fights to keep protesters from walking on American flag (VIDEO)

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Editor’s note: Video contains language some may find offensive

VALDOSTA, Ga. — A Georgia veteran is speaking out after being handcuffed during a protest on Friday for trying to keep people from walking on the American flag.

It was all caught on video shot by Michelle Manhart’s daughter during a protest at Valdosta State University.

It happened 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 Manhart, a former Playboy model.

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

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

And that’s when things escalated between Manhart, the demonstrators and campus police.

Manhart said 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,” Manhart said.

Manhart was taken into custody, but wasn’t charged. The university has banned her from campus activities, but she said she doesn’t have any regrets.

“If I had to do it again I would,” the Air Force veteran said.

And the air force veteran says she will continue to honor and protect those who serve our country.

“Our men and women who don’t get to come home are wrapped in that,” she said referring to the flag. “It’s draped over their caskets during their funerals. Same with our police officers, our firefighters. Our American flag is our American symbol.”

The video has been viewed more than 3 million times.

Valdosta State University, 1500 North Patterson Street, Valdosta, GA

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24 comments

  • Saghalie

    Why was she arrested? She was obeying the law by taking the flag. The officers here should be charged along with the protesters with the $1000 fine and the 1 year in jail that desecrating the flag requires.

    There is something wrong here when the police do not enforce the law but illegally detain a law-abiding citizen.

  • b mcdaniel

    What a disgusting display of disrespect of a veteran and our flag. The police need to be fired. The college needs to have a rainstorm of grief brought down on them. We are sick of the educational system condoning and assisting in this kind of behavior.
    The majority of our teachers have never served our country and have little or no respect for America. It comes across in how they teach. The faculty of this college
    need to answer for allowing this disgraceful garbage to go on under their noses. Someone needs to be fired! The students need to be expelled.
    The Governor of Georgia owes it to every service person to stand up and say this is wrong. He needs to apologize to the veteran and demand an apology from the school, the police involved and require the students be dismissed, fined
    and face charges for their actions. It not only disrespected this veteran, but every veteran, American citizen and student at the school. ENOUGH! If not the governor, where is your congressman? People of Georgia, get a backbone do mand some justice now!!!!l

    • APenny4

      Yes lets abandon the first amendment. Veterans served to protect everyone rights even the ones she may not agree with. Freedom of self is more important than in this case a peace cloth most likely made in China.
      “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”

    • Yvonne Chisholm

      Just saw the picture of this VET. Doing the same and worst. Not only is the flag on FLOOR. Our stand up citizen is NAKED wrapped up in the very flag she claims to be defending. Her service record isn’t as it shoul be. You can’t call yourself protecting something, you yourself have disgraced!!!!! Go put some clothes on and stop STEALING!

  • John E. Yuhas

    I whole heartedly applaud Ms. Manhart’s actions for perserving our flag. As a 20 year USAF vet myself I stand shoulder to shoulder with Michelle. Most of you have no idea how and why veterans honor and perserve our flag. Thank you Michelle.

    • APenny4

      You and she swore an oath
      “… I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic..” The bill of rights is supreme and in it is the first amendment which supersedes all flag codes and has been upheld by the supreme court in cases of burning the flag. By you infringing on someones property rights and their rights to free speech you are in essence betraying the bill of rights and the constitution.

  • Think about it i dare you

    Screw those black people You wanna be in america you dont get to step on our flag its not your right and it is the law your breaking by doing so WHY WASNT ANY ONE FROM THE BLACK CROWD ARRESTED !

      • Wallus

        First amendment doesn’t mean there won’t be conflict over things that heave meaning to people. And protesters have a history of sticking their behind in peoples faces then acting surprised when they don’t like it.

        • APenny4

          There may be conflict but only one person here broke the law and that was the veteran. She could have protested the protest peacefully, but she committed a crime by stealing from them. We don’t have rights to protect what everyone wants to hear/see/do they are in place to protect the unpopular. You and anyone else have no right to not be offended.

  • Glen

    She did something awesome, as I believe most veterans would. She stood up for OUR flag, and tried to protect it. As someone has mentioned, he would stand shoulder to shoulder with her, and as a veteran myself, so would I.

    • Jordan

      How ignorant people can be. Manhart quit the Air Force in 2008 rather than accept a demotion for violating the standards expected of military personnel after posing nude for Playboy while draped in an American flag that was also being drug across the floor during her “shoot”.. This great white bastion of American ideals and values somehow felt that her desecration of the American flag during her nude playboy shoot, was perfectly alright, but when someone else expresses their opinion with the same American flag she wouldn’t have it.

      Oh the ignorance and the irony!!

    • Jordan

      Was it “awesome” when she wrapped her naked body in the American flag and drug it across the floor when she posed nude for Playboy and then quit the military instead of accepting a demotion for her conduct?

  • matthew

    those police officers should be ashamed of themselves I hope every single one of them quit their jobs and then start to go to church or something because this is completely wrong they should not be doing that to a veteran who is saved their lives probably many times they do not even know it themselves with stupid people in this world I can’t believe how naive people are my goodness bless that lady for sticking up for herself especially being surrounded by many people also and every single person that was walking on the flight should be arrested instead of her we need to do something about this and get probably 50 percent of the police officers out of the forest because they’re absolutely idiots and the abused all sorts of power I’ve been witnesses to this stuff all the time and it’s happened to me too