A Florida powersports business in a military town has claimed victory in a battle against city officials, after a government employee demanded flags of military branches be removed from the property, going so far as to threaten fines and tell one veteran that his combat injuries “didn’t matter.”
Nationwide outrage against the city of Jacksonville erupted after city inspector Melinda Power issued a citation to Jaguar Power Sports over the matter of military branch flags flying on the roof of the establishment, claiming they were a violation of city code.
During her time there, Power became so disruptive that she got in the face of a customer upset by the citation issuance, one who happened to be a combat-wounded veteran.
The incident, recounted by store employee Katie Klasse and caught on surveillance tape, shows an angry and sun-baked Power as she gets threateningly close to the veteran.
“She says, ‘What did you do for this country?’” Klasse recalled. “He says, ‘I took three bullets to the leg. I almost lost my life for this country. I’m retired. I’m a veteran.’ She gets in his face this close and says, ‘You did nothing for this country.'”
The incident was quickly taken to social media, resulting in both the city and the business being inundated with support for the veteran and anger over Power’s actions.
In response to the incident, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry smartly moved in to clarify policy and control the public relations nightmare caused by his inept employee.
“I Have directed city staff that military flags should be treated same as US flag. Let them fly. I Have reached out to the business owner & will review employee procedures,” he wrote on Twitter. “COJ employees are expected to be respectful of our customers- you, the people of Jacksonville.”
While many have called for the immediate dismissal of Power, but the veteran told reporters he would simply be happy with an apology.
According to News 4 Jax, the active duty members around Naval Air Station Jacksonville were not permitted to speak on the matter, but retirees had plenty to say.
“I was enraged. I’m retired Navy. My son’s retired Army. We put our butts out there and they pull this. I don’t like it,” Navy veteran Lanny Austin said. “The way she handled herself was totally disrespectful.”
One Jaguar Power Sports employee -who spoke to Popular Military on conditions of anonymity- said he didn’t personally see the incident go down but supports his employers and the veteran involved.
“All I know is, if it happened how they say it did, I’m pretty disgusted,” he said.
It is uncertain what specific code violation sparked the incident in question, though one thing is for certain: as the situation stands, it turns out that you actually can “fight city hall,” after all.
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