A firefighter in Minnesota was suspended on Sunday after flying a Confederate flag from a fire truck he was driving during the Third of July Parade in Albert Lea, Minn., on Friday, numerous media outlets reported.
Brian Nielsen, who has worked at the Hartland Fire Department for about 10 years, said that he decided to fly the flag without consulting the rest of the department.
“It was my decision and I didn’t think it was going to be a big deal, but boy was I wrong,” he told the Associated Press.
Nielson said that Hartland Fire Chief Trent Wangen suspended him while the department conducts an investigation.
“More than likely I’ll probably be asked to step down,” Nielsen told the AP. “I respect that and will do that if they want.”
He told CBS Minnesota that he may make a formal apology this week at a Albert Lea Chamber of Commerce meeting.
Nielson told Minneapolis television station KARE 11 that he has apologized to the Hartland Fire Department, but said that he was trying to make a point about political correctness.
“I’m sick of the politically correctness, because they are trying to change too much in the United States,” he said. “Me raising that flag had nothing to do with slavery. It had nothing to do with disrespect towards our vets. It was more of a statement against the PC.”
Though he has apologized, Nielson said he would fly the Confederate flag again — just not on a fire truck.
“I guess it was a bad choice, but like I say, if I had to do it again I would, just not in a public vehicle,” he told KARE 11.