A volunteer firefighter is under scrutiny after a photo of his firetruck flying a Confederate flag at a parade in Albert Lea, Minn. went viral. He has also been suspended.
Brian Nielson, 43, flew both the Confederate and American flags on the back of the Heartland Fire Department truck in the Third of July Parade. Nielson said he’s not for slavery, but did it because he was fed up with political correctness.
"It was my decision and I didn't think it was going to be a big deal, but boy was I wrong," Nielsen told The Associated Press.
Hartland Fire Chief Trent Wangen suspended him on Sunday pending an investigation. Nielsen said he thinks he’ll be “more than likely” asked to step down.
This comes in the heat of a nationwide debate regarding the appropriateness of displaying the Confederate flag after nine people were killed at a historically black church in South Carolina. The man who confessed to the killings posted photographs of himself on social media with the flag.
But Nielsen, who is white, told the Associated Press that he’s not racist.
"I don't see race," he said. "Black and white are the same to me. My belief is that `politically correct' is going too far."