A sheriff in South Carolina has shrugged off orders from President Obama and refused to fly his office's flag at half-mast to honor Nelson Mandela, the Greenville News reports. "The flag at half-staff is for Americans’ ultimate sacrifice for our country," said Pickens County Sheriff Rick Clark. "We should never stray away from that." Clark did fly his flag at half-staff during the day yesterday to honor an area law enforcement officer who died at Pearl Harbor, but planned to raise the flag again overnight. WIS-TV reports that Clark made his announcement on Facebook, saying:
- "Nelson Mandela did great things for his country and was a brave man but he was not an AMERICAN!!! The flag should be lowered at our Embassy in S. Africa, but not here."
Hundreds of supporters responded with messages on Facebook, along with a few notable dissenters. "I expect for him to follow proper protocol and fly the flag at half-staff because that’s the respect I would like to give Nelson Mandela as a citizen of Pickens County," wrote the head of the local NAACP chapter. Ultimately the move is Clark's choice, because the federal flag code is a voluntary guide that "does not prescribe any penalties for non-compliance," according to the US Congress.