Flags Flying at Half Staff Illegally Was an Accident, PWC Officials Said
The flags were lowered without the permission of the governor or the U.S. President.
Prince William County officials said the Virginia state flag and the U.S. flag were both lowered to half-staff in memory of a deceased Prince William County officer.
Though the county executive office gave the order to lower the county flag in light of Prince William County Officer Chris Yung's Dec. 31 death, at some county buildings, all the flags were apparently lowered, Jason Grant, spokesman for Prince William County, said.
"With the timing being during a holiday, there were staff who were unfamiliar with the policies and lowered all flags initially. That was corrected later," Grant wrote in an email.
The issue of the lowered flags was addressed on Jan. 2, when staff returned to offices after the holiday, he added.
Only the president or the governor of a state can order the American flag lowered to half-staff. The state flag is flown at half-staff when the American flag is flown at half-staff or, after the death of certain elected officials and judges who have or who are currently serving the state.
County officials said they aren't sure how many flags were lowered and exactly when they were lowered or when they returned to flying full staff.
There may have been some county facilities that took longer to correct the issue, Grant said.
All three flags were lowered at the Prince William County Police Western Division on Friday, the day of Yung's funeral and precession.
It is not clear when those flags were returned to full staff.