A New York City police officer and apparent fan of The Dukes of Hazzard TV show brought his "General Lee" replica Dodge Charger to work, but after some scrutiny from the public, he had to remove it from the lot.
The Dukes of Hazzard hasn't been on CBS in 30 years, but there are still plenty of fans to be found for the characters and the car on the show, an orange 1969 Dodge Charger named "The General Lee," which had a Confederate flag painted on top of its roof. The horn even played the first few parts of the song "Dixie."
The NYPD officer owned a newer Dodge Charger made in much the same way as the famous vehicle on The Dukes of Hazzard. According to CBS New York, the replica also had a Confederate flag on top of its exterior roof in plain view for everyone to see.
The Confederate flag, or the "Southern Cross," is often seen as an offensive symbol of racism. It reminds some people of the days of segregation and slavery. The Confederate flag has been adopted by many racist hate groups, including the Ku Klux Klan. Despite these negative connotations, many people still feel the Confederate flag is just another part of the rich Southern heritage which one can be proud to have.
However, WCBS reports The Dukes of Hazzard fan car received mixed reviews, but ultimately the police department decided it was offending enough people to ask the officer to remove it from their property. A spokesperson for the 34th precinct explained why the officer was asked to remove his Dodge Charger elsewhere.
"Due to the fact that its presence at an NYPD facility may be considered as offensive and/or inappropriate, the registered owner is being instructed that the car should not be parked on NYPD property."
A police source commented the driver only brought "The General Lee" replica car to the station a few times and described the police officer as a "big-time Dukes of Hazzard fan."
"Government must remain neutral to any viewpoint or idea, and allow the expression of ideas — even if the vast majority of the community considers the idea dangerous, offensive, wrong, and evil," said Nadine Strossen, a civil rights attorney of New York Law School.
She believes displaying the Confederate flag is protected by the First Amendment.
Michael Wynn, a man from Washington Heights, doesn't think driving the Dukes of Hazzard car to work with its prominent Confederate flag on top was a great idea.
"I would feel uncomfortable driving that," Winn said. "If I was a cop, I would feel very uncomfortable."
[Photos by Jason Kirk/Getty Images Entertainment, CBS2]