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House Dems link arms during pledge to support right to protest

American flag fluttering against a blue sky
Corey Seeman/Flickr

A group of state House Democrats linked arms today during the Pledge of Allegiance on lieu of putting their hands over their hearts. They said it was to show support for the right of NFL players to take a knee during the national anthem. And to protest a Facebook post by Michigan State Police Col. Kriste Etue that called the players “degenerates.”

“We are standing in support of that First Amendment right, and the right to display your First Amendment rights in all fashions, what it is, protests, in all fashions of freedom of speech,” said state Rep. Sheldon Neeley, D-Flint, who chairs the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus.  

Neeley says he’s asked for a meeting with Governor Rick Snyder and Etue. The black caucus has called for her to be fired. Snyder says the police director has apologized, and that’s enough. 

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.