Swastika Flag Seen Hanging From California State Building, Investigation Launched Into Why It Was Displayed

An investigation has been launched after a Nazi flag was displayed in the window of a California state building in Sacramento.

The red swastika flag was seen hanging inside an office at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) building at 16th and T Street in midtown Sacramento, Fox 40 reported.

Local Michael Johnson told the station the swastika could be seen from his workplace across the street from the building, and would have been visible to anyone driving past.

"Right there in front of me was a big giant red flag with a swastika on it and some large SS bolts," he added to CBS 13.

Johnson said he thought the flag was part of a Halloween display at first, before he spotted other hate signs and gang paraphernalia in the window.

He said the display would give visitors to Sacramento a bad impression of the city as it was one of the first things people coming from the airport would see.

"It's not necessarily one of the first things I'd want them to see," he told the station.

A parole official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told Fox 40 that the display was not meant to be offensive and had been put up to serve as a training tool by a parole officer who works mainly with gang members.

According to CBS 13, the flags and signs on display had been confiscated from prisoners and parolees and put up to educate staff about what to look out for.

But Johnson doesn't buy the explanation. "In this context, I don't believe it was being delivered in that manner," he said.

The display was taken down on Monday morning by office managers after the CDCR received complaints from people who felt offended by the display, Fox 40 reported.

CDCR spokeswoman Danas Simas confirmed to Newsweek that the flag has been taken down and that the department, which oversees the parole services office, will be investigating the incident.

"While CDCR has a zero tolerance policy for the display of objects that are derogatory in nature, in an office that trains gang task force members and those who monitor high-risk sex offenders we will come into contact with items that may be considered objectionable," she said in a statement to Newsweek.

"However, we take this issue seriously and have removed the item and are looking into the circumstances for why the flag was displayed in potential view of the public in the first place."

Update: This story has been updated to include a statement from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Stock photo: A protester carries an anti-Nazi sign outside of Trump Tower on August 14, 2017 in New York City. An investigation has been launched after a swastika flag was displayed in the window of a California state building in Sacramento. Robert Nickelsberg/Getty