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Swap Shop Owner Takes Down Flag With Confederate Symbol Meant As Joke

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LAUDERHILL (CBSMiami) – As thousands watched while South Carolina took down their Confederate flag, one Lauderhill business owner decided to put up his flag – embossed with the Confederate symbol.

According to the Sun-Sentinel, Swap Shop owner Preston Henn hoisted his old Georgia state flag up on Friday at the flea market located at 3291 W. Sunrise Blvd. It's something he says is a joke.

"I put it up as a joke to see if anyone would notice," said Henn. "It wasn't up 15 minutes before everyone started calling."

He said he had tried to get a Confederate flag from but the company would not ship it so he settled for the flag that had been flown until 2001 in his hometown of Canton.

Though he took the flag down on Saturday, some felt it shouldn't have been up in the first place – even if it was a joke.

"It shouldn't be there. It's not something that enhances America, as far as I'm concerned," said shopper Ken McLean.

"That's the past. It's been used for bad things, Ku Klux Klan and so forth. And I think enough is enough," added Tugene Rentas.

The moves comes weeks after nine black churchgoers were killed in a racially charged shooting in Charleston known by some as the church massacre.

This week, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley signed legislation to permanently remove the Confederate flag from the State House.

Meantime, Henn argues it's his right to fly the 4 foot by 6 foot flag.

"I think I have the right. I know what's going on in South Carolina. I think it's overdone. [The flag] is part of our history. It's part of my growing up," said Henn.

Lauderhill Mayor Richard Kaplan said he respects Henn's 1st Amendment rights but is asking him to reconsider his decision.

"Mr. Henn may want to reconsider his actions because once you do something like that, there may be some far-reaching consequences," said Kaplan.

Henn's decision has caused fear and some anger.  Fear for shop owners wondering if it will affect business and anger to some people who are offended by the flag.

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