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Traverse City officer flies Confederate flag around protest, now suspended

A Michigan police officer was suspended Sunday with pay after he was seen driving a pickup truck bearing a Confederate flag around a group protesting Donald Trump's election as president - while he was off duty.

Traverse City police Chief Jeff O'Brien announced the suspension of officer Michael Peters. O'Brien added that an internal investigation will begin Monday to determine whether Peters broke department rules.

"He is not working as a police officer," O'Brien told the Traverse City Record-Eagle. "I do not condone his actions."

The Traverse City Record-Eagle reports that Michael Peters was told at the time to stop doing so.

The Record-Eagle has photos of Peters driving the truck that was flying both the Confederate flag and the American flag and standing behind it while drinking a beer in a restricted parking zone.

O'Brien confirmed that that it was Peters in the photos at the rally Friday. The Confederate battle flag is seen by many people as a symbol of hatred and intimidation of African-Americans following the U.S. Civil War and the freeing of blacks from slavery.

O'Brien said Monday at a news conference that he thinks Peters "understands the ramifications of his actions."

9and10news.com reports that the department will launch an internal investigation to make sure Officer Peters didn't violate department policy and procedures. The chief mentioned that at one point Officer Peters has brought a Confederate flag onto city property before this incident.

The Associated Press and FOX News contributed to this report.