Confederate group removes flag and pole from Route 60 West

LEXINGTON,Va. (AP) —A pro-Confederate group in Lexington has taken down a large flag and its flagpole, but says it intends to raise the banner again once the proper permits are obtained.

Rockbridge County officials had said that the 82-foot-tall flagpole had to be removed because it was too close to a public highway. The county had given the property owner until March 6 to remove the flagpole or face a fine of $200 a day for the first 10 days, then $500 a day, up to $5,000.

The Virginia Flaggers initially said they wouldn’t take the Confederate flag down and were prepared to pay any ensuing fines. On Monday, though, the group hired a crane to remove the flagpole, which stood in front of a pawn shop.

The Roanoke Times reported the Flaggers said they removed the flag and pole at the request of the property owner, who said he’d been “threatened with imprisonment.”

County officials denied threatening to imprison the owner, but said a judge could have imposed a jail sentence if the flagpole was not removed.