State backs down on flagpole rule at protests

April 15, 2010 9:49:14 AM PDT
Hours before a large Tea Party protest at the State Capitol, North Carolina officials suspended a rule that would have kept flagpoles and banner supports to a maximum length of 12 inches.

"The Department of Crime Control and Public Safety and the Department of Administration are concerned that Rule 16 poses potential legal questions. As a result, State Capitol Police has suspended enforcement of the rule until a review can be completed," said Crime Control and Public Safety Secretary Reuben Young in a statement.

Capitol Police Chief Scott Hunter told ABC11 on Wednesday that he came up with the rule last year after seeing how big rallies were getting at the Capitol.

"Groups are tending to get larger and larger here in the government complex and so it's a safety measure," he explained.

But Tea Party organizer Randy Dye, a veteran with two sons in the military, says he planned to bring his American flag nonetheless.

"I'll be darned if I can't carry my flag on a pole on the State Capitol grounds. That's just wrong," he said.

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