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Nazi flag removed from Lauderdale yard, owner 'liked the design'

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A homeowner who displayed a Nazi flag in his yard has taken it down after it sparked widespread condemnation and attracted unwanted attention.

The flag's display "disgusted" Lauderdale resident and GO 96.3 host Ben Holsen, who spoke with BringMeTheNews after he noticed the flag flying a few doors down from his home on Thursday.

The display made him fear for his Jewish neighbors, saying: "I'm disgusted that somebody wold do that to somebody else, for everything that flag represents."

While the owner is within his legal rights to display the flag, Holsen said he wanted to exercise his legal right to let as many people as possible know about it, so he posted it on his Facebook page.

CityPages reports that this led to a WCCO TV crew knocking on the door of homeowner Robert Walter, who took it down on Friday and denied that he is a Nazi sympathizer.

"I'm not no Neo-Nazi," Walter, a self-styled history buff, told CityPages. "I just like the design of the flag, the colors, the pattern. I took it all down because of the [WCCO-TV] story. I didn't want anymore headaches."

He also spoke to the Star Tribune, saying: "It was a German navy flag. The navy wasn't responsible for rounding up Jews, and sending them to labor camps and stuff."

"I don't like all these people calling me and complaining," he added.

Lauderdale City Administrator Heather Butkowski told BringMeTheNews on Thursday that there's nothing the city could have done to get the flag removed.

While it wouldn't be seen flying on public land, removing it from privately owned property would violate the First Amendment right to free speech.

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