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Traverse City police officer suspended after flying Confederate flag at “Love Trumps Hate” rally

Confederate Flag
Flickr User Edward Stojakovic
Some have taken issue with Officer Peters' actions, while others are defending his First Amendment right to express himself.


Since Donald Trump’s election there has been an increase nationwide in reports of harassment and intimidation of minorities.

One such incident is making headlines in Traverse City. Police Officer Michael Peters has been suspended after flying the Confederate flag on his truck at a “Love Trumps Hate” rally.

Aaron Selbig of Interlochen Public Radio joined us.

“On Veteran’s Day there was a rally near downtown Traverse City, and this Officer Peters showed up in his truck. He was off-duty, and in the back on his truck he had a giant Confederate flag. And apparently, according to witnesses, he got out of his truck, he drank a beer and he engaged with some of the protesters there,” Selbig told us.

“We don’t know exactly what he said. There are witnesses who were there who were clearly upset and agitated by his presence. He was engaging with them, we don’t know the exact words, but these witnesses have been invited by the police department to come forward to tell their story to folks who are investigating this.”

Selbig told us there are two investigations underway: an internal investigation looking into whether Peters violated the Traverse City Police Department’s code of conduct, and a criminal investigation to determine whether the officer violated any laws regarding the alcohol.

Peters has been suspended with pay pending the investigation.

“Chief O’Brien urged patience while the investigation and the process plays itself out, but he also spoke personally about his own experience. He was in the Army in Fort McClellan in Alabama in the ‘70sa, and said he witnessed segregation up close during that time. He said that he doesn’t approve of the Confederate flag. He thinks the Confederate flag belongs in a museum,” Selbig said.

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