Ga. Locals Criticize Mayor on Flying Flag
TIFTON, Ga. (AP) - A south Georgia mayor said Friday he will continue flying a Mexican flag at city hall for the six immigrant farmworkers slain in robberies - despite complaints from residents.
Seven people called WTIF radio station Thursday, saying the gesture was inappropriate and that the Mexican and U.S. flags should not fly together.
"I did that as an expression of sorrow to the Hispanic community," Mayor Paul Johnson said. "For those who we offended, I apologize, but I think it was the right thing to do."
The red, white and green Mexican flag, donated by the Colombian-born priest of Tifton's only Roman Catholic church, was first raised Monday and taken down Thursday because it was damaged by Tropical Storm Tammy.
The mayor has requested a new flag and pledged the display would last six days, one for each man slain.
Johnson said he considers immigrants to be a part of the community, who do very important work. "They're here to find the hope of America," the mayor said.
WTIF station manager Chris Beckham said the callers who opposed the display "just thought it was the wrong thing to do."
The six men were killed with guns and baseball bats during a crime spree authorities blame on an armed-robbery gang that preyed on immigrants. Three people have been charged with first-degree murder.
YES I ALREADY EMAILED THE MAYOR TO EXPRESS MY APPRECIATION TO HIM. I am OUTRAGED.
FYI:Paul O. Johnson Mayor
P.O. Box 229 Tifton, Georgia 31793
Phone: 229-391-3937 Fax: 229-391-4722