Ulysses, PA – A McKean County Sheriff’s deputy has been charged with multiple offenses after he allegedly entered a white supremacist leader’s yard and removed a Nazi flag.
The incident occurred on Jan. 21, when Deputy Colin Meeker was serving court papers at approximately 4 p.m., the Olean Times Herald reported.
According to neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement Director Daniel Burnside, the uniformed deputy got out of his marked patrol car, and climbed over a safety wall on the side of the road, to get onto his property.
Burnside said that Deputy Meeker then came approximately 15 feet onto his property, where he proceeded to remove Burnside’s flag from a flagpole.
The deputy took the flag to his patrol car, and left the scene, Burnside said.
“The deputy abused his trust as a sheriff’s deputy,” he told the Independent Journal Review. “He was on duty in the county sheriff’s car, in uniform, in daylight.”
According to the Olean Times Herald, the flag depicted a Nazi swastika, with a skull and crossbones in the center, as well as Iron Crosses and SS insignia.
Burnside said he called McKean County Sheriff Dan Woods, and told him that if the deputy who took his flag would return it and apologize to him, he would not pursue charges.
Deputy Meeker and a second deputy returned to Burnside’s residence and apologized, he said.
“It wasn’t until he returned my damaged flag that I learned his name,” Burnside told the Olean Times Herald.
But when he asked Deputy Meeker to come inside to issue a videotaped apology, the deputy refused.
Burnside said he deduced that the deputy “had no remorse for his actions,” and described him as “very unprofessional,” the Olean Times Herald reported.
He then contacted the state police and reported the incident, which he declared was an attempt to “stifle” his First Amendment rights.
“He was using the taxpayer’s money – his salary and use of the car – to carry out his own selfish agenda,” Burnside told the Independent Journal Review.
Pennsylvania State Police Sergeant Kerby Young confirmed that Deputy Meeker was under investigation, and that he has been suspended without pay.
According to court documents, Deputy Meeker was charged on Jan. 22 with criminal mischief, trespass, theft, and receiving stolen property.
His next court hearing was scheduled for Feb. 9.
The National Socialist Movement is “one of the largest and most prominent neo-Nazi groups in the United States,” according to Newsweek.
Over the past 24 years, the movement has amassed more than 60 chapters in at least 35 states.
Many of the group’s members have donned full Nazi uniforms at protests over the years, Newsweek reported.