Gatlinburg man whose Confederate flag was stolen wants racism to end

Leslie Goodin holds a piece of his Confederate flag he found after police say three people stole and burned it Saturday night. (Source: Kyle Grainger, WVLT)

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The man whose Confederate flag was stolen from his motorcycle in Gatlinburg and burned says he wants racism of all kinds to end.

Leslie Goodin says he sees the Confederate flag as a part of history, not hatred.

"To me it's a Veterans Flag. As you see right in front of my house is a POW Flag, I have an American Flag, and I have a Confederate flag. They all three fly every day," said Goodin.

Goodin says he was out to eat in Gatlinburg Saturday night and when he returned he found his flag missing and a small piece on the ground.

"It's been waving from day one that I've owned the motorcycle. It didn't start just because of the Confederate flag stuff that's going on now," said Goodin.

A woman saw three people remove the flag and set it on fire. She took pictures and followed the three until police could arrive.

Gatlinburg Police say they arrested, Morgan Ford, 23, Cody Johnson, 21, and Brian Blalock, 20. The three have several charges from vandalism to illegal burning.

Goodin says at first he was angry, but now he wants people to not look at everyone who flies the flag as a racist. He says it's about history and the blacks and whites who both were in the Civil War.

"We're in America. We're not Indian, we're not white, we're not Puerto Rico. We're Americans and we need to stand together and end this prejudiced crap," he said.

He plans to put a flag back on his motorcycle for his next ride.