VALDOSTA, Georgia — A U.S. Air Force veteran and former Playboy model is speaking out after she was handcuffed during a protest Friday for trying to keep people from walking on the American flag. The incident was caught on video shot by Michelle Manhart’s daughter during a protest at Valdosta State University. The incident happened after Manhart heard about the protest where demonstrators were walking on the flag. Manhart said she made several complaints to the university.
"They had thrown it on the ground, they were walking on it, kicking it, you know making different motions against the flag itself," Manhart said. When the protests did not stop, Manhart took matters into her own hands. She said she saw the flag, walked up, picked it up and walked away. That was when things escalated between Manhart, the demonstrators and campus police. Manhart said she got upset when police gave the flag back to the demonstrators.
WARNING: This video contains strong language
"I got a little unprofessional and called him a not-very-nice name because I was extremely upset that he told me one thing and he did something completely different," Manhart said.
Manhart was taken into custody, but was not charged. The university later banned her from campus activities, but she said she had no regrets.
"If I had to do it again I would. Our men and women who don’t get to come home are wrapped in that," she said referring to the flag. "It’s draped over their caskets during their funerals. Same with our police officers, our firefighters. Our American flag is our American symbol."
Video of the Valdosta State University incident has been viewed more than 3 million times.