Johnny Brann received a letter from the city stating that the flags he has displayed outside of his restaurant that honor fallen police officers and military personnel violate zoning ordinances. Brann was ordered to remove the flags but is applying for a zoning variance to keep them. However, he plans to refuse to take them down regardless of the outcome.
Brann, the owner of Brann’s Steakhouse in Grand Rapids, Michigan, keeps flags outside of his restaurant to honor police officers and military members who were killed in the line of duty.
The city has said that the flag display violates city zoning ordinances and must be removed.
In an effort to keep the flags, Brann applied for a zoning variance, submitting an application with the City of Grand Rapids Zoning Appeals Board. However, he doesn’t plan to remove the flags even if his request is denied.
“The people of the United States got to understand the importance of law enforcement,” said Brann, according to a report by Fox News. “They protect us. They protect and serve. If you call them, it doesn’t matter who you are, what time it is. If your life’s threatened, they’re coming to help. And they risk their lives every day they walk out to do their job.”
During an interview, Brann stated that 22 law enforcement officers have been killed while performing their duties this year, adding that it is important that their sacrifice isn’t forgotten.
“Law enforcement and our military are vital,” Brann continued. “So it’s not even complicated to me, and the banners and the signs are staying up.”
The city says that the content of the display isn’t the issue, but the sheer amount of signage.
Brann stated, “I think I exceed the allotted amount for signage.”
A GoFundMe campaign was launched by a Grand Rapids community member to help Brann pay the $1,349 variance application fee. In just four days, it raised nearly $3,000.