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July 18, 2018

77-year-old veteran put an American flag on his porch and now he’s headed to court

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Air Force veteran Larry Murphree is being made to pay $1,000 as fine for putting a small American flag in a flower pot on his front porch.

The fine was being imposed by the homeowners association at the Tides Condominium in Sweetwater, as reported by the First Coast News.

Murphree insists that he had no negative intention when he placed the American flag in the flower pot.

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"One day I was thinking about the country, and I put a small American flag on my front porch in a flower pot," he was quoted as saying in the First Coast News report. "It's a small flag, but it stands for a big thank you"

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But his neighbors took issue with it. The homeowners association sent him a violation letter stating that the American flag was an unauthorized object and that he must take it down.

The association imposed a $100 day fine for every day that the American flag remains in the flower pot. Murphree was unfazed until the fine reached $1,000.

He sought the help of lawyer Gust Sarris, who assured him that he has the right to display the American flag. They filed a lawsuit in the federal court and won.

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The homeowners association agreed that he could fly the flag but came up with another ordinance a few months later. They changed the flag ordinance to a flower pot ordinance.

He was again charged $100 every day he didn't take the flag off the flower pot.

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The legal battle has dragged on for seven years.

What disappointed Murphree even more was that the homeowners' association used his homeowner's fee to pay off the fines, without him knowing.

Murphree said the homeowner's association was nitpicking everything that he was doing.

In the end, he decided to sell his condo unit "at a tremendous loss." Murphree said he will continue to fight for his right.

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