INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—An east side Indianapolis neighborhood is riled up over a flag one man displayed on his house.
People living nearby say they were shocked to see a Nazi flag draped over the railing in front of the door.
“I really was stunned,” said Jim Otey. “I couldn’t believe I was seeing what I was seeing.”
Otey says he usually passes the house by without looking because he doesn’t want to see the Confederate flag the same man has flown for years. Just to make sure, he doubled back to make sure it was indeed a Nazi flag and snapped this picture.
“I knew you can’t call the cops because it’s not illegal,” said Otey.
Instead, he posted the picture on Facebook. The original post has been shared more than 1,300 times.
Keith Smith recently took down the flag… but not before defending his position to our media partner, the Indy Star.
Smith says he’s collected neo-Nazi memorabilia for decades. He maintains the Nazi flag is about history, not race.
Otey doesn’t buy it.
“That flag stands for a group of people that only wanted that group of people to be in the country and they killed six million people to do it,” said Otey.
Mark Price, who lives across the street from where the flag flew, thinks people are getting the wrong idea about Smith.
“The gentleman is actually a pretty good neighbor,” said Price. “I’ve never had any problems with him.”
Price commended Smith for responding to his neighbors’ outrage by taking it down.
“He took it down when he heard people complaining about it, so that shows some type of character about him,” said Price.
Price also defends Smith’s right to free speech.
“As long as he’s not harming nobody with it or you know, doing any violence behind it, then you know, he has his right,” said Price.
Otey and some of the others living near the house tell they understand it’s the man’s right to fly whatever flag he wants, even one associated with genocide.
They’re not questioning whether he can display it, but whether he should.
“It may be free speech, but it is a symbol of hate,” said Otey.
Even though the flag is gone, some neighbors are still chalking messages like the ones below across from Smith’s house.
Smith was not home when we stopped by to get his response to what neighbors are doing now.