The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office issued a cease and desist letter to a county resident whose Facebook page featured the picture of a noose–a symbol of lynching–, the outline of an assault rifle superimposed on a Confederate flag and the line, “Come and Take It,” and pictures of a sheriff’s deputy’s patrol car, including one of himself posing next to the car, implying that the man was an employee of the department.
The man, whose Facebook page name is Scott van Ostran, was never a sheriff’s deputy, Sheriff Rick Staly said, but may have been a volunteer with the department’s C.O.P., or Citizens on Patrol, program several years ago. “We had no record of him,” Staly said, citing poor record-keeping in the volunteer program before his administration.
“He’s never been a COP under my administration, and so we sent him a both by messenger on Facebook and certified letter from our general counsel the cease and desist,” Staly said.
The department determined that, based on its license plate and model, the patrol car pictured in van Ostran’s photographs dates from 2007. The department usually hands down its patrol cars to he COP program after a few years. Based on van Ostran’s uniform, the department concluded he may have been a volunteer sometime between 2010 and 2012.
The department was alerted on July 6. The same day, Staly and Kayla Hathaway, the department’s general counsel, issued van Ostran a letter referring to the the sheriff’s office’s vehicle giving the false impression he was employed there. “Further, your page displays a photo of a noose, which does not represent the many honorable men and women working and volunteering for the Office and is extremely offensive.”
The letter demands that he stops using images and insignias of the sheriff’s office without authorization. Local governments have from time to time trademarked their logos or disputed the unauthorized use of the logos by individuals or businesses. The federal government also prohibits the use of its own logos and seals without authorization–as, for instance, in the use of such logos for commercial purposes. The alleged infringement is less clear when private individuals use logos or imagery associated with a government agency, without intended financial gain.
Van Ostran did not respond to an interview request through his Facebook page.
The sheriff, however, bristled at the racial and bigoted implications of the noose imagery on van Ostran’s page, linked as it was to the sheriff’s office. Van Ostran had recently updated his profile picture to be the noose.
“I’m not happy about it at all, you’re implying you work with the FCSO and you don’t, we actually had a detective visit him in person this morning,” Staly said on Monday. “We cannot stop the photos that he posts that don’t involve the official markings of the Sheriff’s Office, we cannot stop his comments that he posts, because that would be a violation of the First Amendment”–van Ostrand appears to be a liberalophobe–“same thing with other photos that he posts. What we can do is attempt to stop him using the trademarks of the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office.”
Of the noose, Staly said: “I think that’s reprehensible. If there’s other images out there you may be referring to, I’m not familiar with them.”
The noose as an unsubtle hate code for lynching periodically reappears as it did in late June when an actual noose–not an image–was discovered hanging by the garage assigned to NASCAR’s Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. at Talladega Superspeedway. Wallace is the only Black driver in NASCAR’s top series. NASCAR investigated but could not determine who or why the noose was left there. Wallace himself downplayed the incident, relying on NASCAR’s conclusions. But the coincidence strained the credibility of claims that the noose (the term NASCAR itself used) was not hung as an intentional message of hate: NASCAR inspected almost 1,700 garages across 29 states and found just 11 pull-down ropes, only one of which was tied as a noose.
Van Ostran’s page (“Take No Prisoners”) has since switched to much more restrictive access. The noose profile picture has been taken down, but the top picture on the page still features what appears to be a Crown Victoria, but without the sheriff’s specific insignias. The public page preserves its epitaph: “WE found a cure for the LIBERAL VIRUS! It’s called the TRUMP vaccine!! YAYYY! Saved AGAIN!! #KAG2020.” The message is tame, however, compared to far more virulently hateful iconography and bigoted messaging coursing through the social media accounts of more prominent Flagler County residents, some of them elected officials.
Mike Cocchiola says
What is a liberalophobe? I can’t find it in the dictionary or thesaurus.
Red Blooded says
30 year Palm Coast resident, I love all my fellow County and Coasters who love me back the same. Flagler County has come a long way, this does not represent Flagler County at all.
The Geode says
I’ve been here a lot longer than that and the only that has changed is the number of people like you who have come from somewhere else. You know “Flagler County” as Palm Coast and base your assumptions on a city that is brand new compared to the rest of the county.
I was here BEFORE there was a Palm Coast and just because things are hidden doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. I see examples of this on almost a daily basis while you saunter in from up North and proclaim this place an “Inclusive Utopia”
CB from PC says
As if Law Enforcement does not already have a PR problem, largely due to the actions of a few.
The more I see social media stupidity, the more I wish there was a way to keep the technology out of the hands of idiots of all beliefs.
I remember when these morons flipped a patrol car trying to catch (((someone))) who embarrassed them just over 10 years ago. Right around the R section. High speed chase and the good old boys couldn’t keep her in the chute… shame they had to call off that search… they could’ve caught (((someone)))
Typical Trump follower.
Gary R says
Vice President Joe Biden apologized Tuesday night after a 1998 clip surfaced of him saying the impeachment of then-President Bill Clinton could be seen as a “partisan lynching.”
That is exsacly what there actions show tho🤔
Well, these type of liberal-phobic posts are far too common. They are always sexist, racist and bigoted. It is reprehensible and this filth comes from the top down. Maybe I should say from the bottom up as trump is definitely way low. Pretty sure by this point trumps lost any followers who were fooled by him in 2016 and who are not mentally ill. God help us from all the dum dums and their little di* k energy.
Welcome to China. What ever happened to free speech?
Willy Boy says
That’s the problem with that pesky ole 1st amendment, but you don’t have to listen to those with vile opinions. Never been to the site mentioned in the article, and have no intention of ever doing so.
The piece of sh person has nothing to do with the police dept. In addition to his racist posts and pics offending us all, it is also really sad that police resources have to even deal with this, and the loser posting this garbage for all to see has the right to do so but that doesn’t mean any of us agree with his [email protected] His name is out there. He cannot hide now.
Trailer Bob says
Another mentally insane radical. Calling him a redneck is an insult to most reasonable rednecks. Don’t know how people can be so hateful. And the disease is spreading rapidly. At some point people are going to stop being so tolerant with this hateful nonsense.
I Spy says
Facebook, Twitter, Tik Toc, Amazon Alexa, Email, Text, etc are all DATA GATHERING APPS or PROGRAMS that CIA, FBI, DHS, ATF, Local Law Enforcement Agencies use to watch over you and CONTROL your life. You really want to be FREE……… Throw your smart phones, computers, Alexa’s, TV’s, New Car’s in the trash…….. Control your life, don’t let “other’s” control you .
My dad was in the CIA 40 years ago. He told me, if you every want to get something done “undercover” or “without observation”, NEVER wear a badge and NEVER use any technologies that use surveillance.
Ron Davis says
I appreciate Sheriff Staley’s consistently level headed approach to the challenging issues that we face here lately and the vigilant response of the sheriff’s office toward those who exhibit irrational hatred and attempts to threaten other citizens.
I don’t do the “social media” thing because it appears to be filled with garbage like what is reported in this article. However, if there is substance to the claim: “The message is tame, however, compared to far more virulently hateful iconography and bigoted messaging coursing through the social media accounts of more prominent Flagler County residents, some of them elected officials.” I would like to read a Flaglerlive report of such things written by elected officials. We should all take such writings into account at election time.
How about it Flaglerlive?