Traverse City Police Officer Suspended After Displaying Confederate Flag At Protest

A Traverse City Police Officer, now suspended from active duty after displaying a confederate flag at a local protest.

Witnesses say he was also drinking.

The Traverse City Police Chief says he’s identified the officer as Michael Peters.

The incident happened Friday night at a "Love Trumps Hate" protest in Traverse City.

“He is a role model and that’s what he should be displaying here,” says Marshall Collins Junior.

Marshall Collins Junior was one of many people gathered at the Open Space Friday night for a “Love Trumps Hate” protest. He says during the protest he saw off duty Traverse City Police Officer, Michael Peters arrive with a confederate flag on the back of his truck.

“I was talking to some friends and my sister and then that’s when the truck came by with the flag on it and revved its engine right as it got near us,” says Collins.

Collins then confronted Peters.

“My confrontation was why you would bring that here, knowing what that stands for. Why would you bring that here? The fear that that flag instills in me, the fear that that flag has put in me and other people like me, why would you choose to display that?” says Collins.

The Grand Traverse Democrat Party Chair, John Snow, says Peters also took out a bottle of beer and started drinking it.

“The fact that this man carries the shield of the Traverse City Police Department, I think wrecks all of the good work that our current chief has done in trying to improve community relations,” says Snow.

The Traverse City Police Chief declined to go on camera Sunday, but we do know Peters has been suspended from active duty, and the police department has started an internal investigation.

“To see him, knowing that he’s a cop, knowing that he’s out there to protect and serve, knowing that I have to look over my back for someone like that in our community and our department, it scares me and it scares my family," says Collins.

The Traverse City Police Chief will hold a press conference tomorrow morning along with the City Manager at the Governmental Center in Traverse City.

Stay with Northern Michigan’s News Leader as we work to bring you more details.