DES MOINES, Iowa — A Des Moines man is defending his decision to display a large swastika sign in his front yard, right across the street from an elementary school.
It’s happening at 6600 SW 15th Street, right next door to the playground at Morris Elementary School on the south side of Des Moines. William Stark, a convicted felon, says his sign is “pallet art.”
Along with the swastika sign, he is also displaying numerous confederate flags, a “Back the Blue” flag supporting police officers and an American flag with just 11 stripes and 32 stars.
A Facebook post about the swastika sign has generated hundreds of comments, mostly negative.
Channel 13 spoke with Stark on Tuesday about the sign. He claims that it is not a racist sign but a historic one. He calls it a “World War II flag” and says anyone offended by it doesn’t understand history.
Stark was convicted of second-degree theft in September for trying to pass a fake check for $2,300 at a metro store. He was given a five-year suspended prison sentence.
Court records show he has a history of substance abuse and mental health issues.