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  • Trump supporters with the Confederate flag.

    Trump supporters with the Confederate flag. | Photo: Reuters

Published 13 November 2016

Once a photo of the truck hit social media, it was discovered the Confederate flag-bearing Michigan man was a Traverse City Police officer.

Marshall Collins was gathered, along with large swathes of the nation much of last week, to protest the victory of Donald Trump as U.S. president-elect.

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As he stood amidst a rally with his two young sons in the city of Traverse, Michigan, he noticed a pickup truck flying a Confederate flag. It revved its engines, then sped back past where Collin’s family was standing. The driver was an off-duty policeman.

"As he came back by, I kind of stood out and I held up my fist very quietly. For me, that's a sign of solidarity and black pride. So that's what I did," Collins told M Live, a local media outlet.

He said the officer made a show of joining a small group of pro-Trump protesters. That’s when he decided to confront the cop.

Collins sized up the man — who he did not know at the time was an off-duty police officer — and questioned why he brought the Confederate flag to a community gathering.

"I said, 'Do you know what this represents? Do you understand the hatred?'"

"He said, 'You don't know the history of it ... That flag didn't do anything to you.'”

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Collins told the cop the flag instills fear in people, something he said he hoped his two young boys would never have to experience. The driver allegedly shrugged off Collins comments, saying he didn't have kids.

Once a photo of the truck hit social media, it was discovered the Confederate flag-bearing man was Officer Michael Peters. Police Chief Jeff O'Brien told media they will begin an investigation on Monday.

"That's not what the Traverse City Police Department represents," O'Brien told The Record-Eagle. "We are to provide protection for everybody. The Confederate flag is not something we consider an oath of office. We take an oath of office to the Constitution, not the Confederacy. I personally feel that flag stands for hate and hatred."

"I don't want that kind of person pulling me over," Collins said. "I had to go to Northport today and I'm literally driving 53 miles an hour.

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