UPDATE, 2:45 p.m.:

County Administrative Officer Elishia Hayes provided the following comment:

The concern remains regarding the display of the flag. However, to clarify, what was expressed in the email was not around violence but rather damage to the courthouse, similar to what had occurred at the college.

The County Administrative Office and Human Resources has provided significant resources and support to DA Eads to address the flag in the window of the courthouse.

Current county policies prohibit the display of unapproved materials in county facilities. As the elected official responsible for the office hosting the flag, inquiries around her intentions for its removal should be directed to DA Eads.


ADDENDUM, 9:45 a.m. May 23:

As commenters below noted (and upvoted), we should have included a link to the policy in question. Here it is.

The policy, which was adopted 33 years ago, says that while county employees have the right to participate in political activities on their own time, “No political activity whatsoever is to take place on County time or County premises.”

It’s also worth noting that the Outpost did ask District Attorney Stacey Eads via email on May 8 why Rees has been allowed to display the Israeli flag in his window, given this county policy. She offered replies to other questions in that email but did not respond to that one. Nor did she reply to a follow-up email asking why she couldn’t answer that question.


Original post:

Pro-Palestine protesters demonstrating outside the Humboldt County courthouse on April 30, just hours after a law enforcement broke up the campus protest and occupation at Cal Poly Humboldt. | File image.



Deputy District Attorney Roger Rees insists that the Israeli flag hanging in the window of his fourth-floor office at the county courthouse is in no way political. He said as much in a recent interview with the Outpost.

But an email we obtained through a Public Records Act request shows that the county administrative officer had serious concerns about that flag’s potential to provoke a violent response.

On the evening of April 30, just hours before more than 200 cops in riot gear descended on the campus of Cal Poly Humboldt to break up the pro-Palestine student protest/occupation there, CAO Elishia Hayes sent a worried email to Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal and District Attorney Stacey Eads:

From: Hayes, Elishia
To: Eads, Stacey J; Honsal, William
Subject: Courthouse Security
Date: Monday, April 29, 2024 5:16:27 PM

Hello Sheriff Honsal and DA Eads,

It has come to my attention that convoys of law enforcement are en route to Humboldt County. I can only surmise that this is in an effort to provide support to CalPoly Humboldt (CPH). As you know, there is an Israeli flag hanging from a window on the 4th floor in Roger Rees’ office. I know you are both aware that this flag has created a stir amongst Palestinian supporters and has garnered media attention. I have concerns, that should arrests occur at CPH, other protestors may bring their activities to the courthouse and will be enticed to breach the Courthouse in an effort to remove that flag and/or do damage to the Courthouse as they have done at the college. If this should happen, is there a plan to protect the courthouse and the staff/public who utilize this facility?


Elishia Haves
Humboldt County Administrative Officer

Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

Rees (left) waves an Israeli flag in counter-protest on April 30.

As it turned out, protesters did bring their activities to the courthouse the following day, gathering on the sidewalk beneath the jail to chant, wave flags and hold signs as they awaited the release of their arrested comrades. 

But if any of them felt enticed to storm the building and/or do damage, they managed to contain said urge. The protest proved entirely peaceful.

Rees, for his part, made the scene that day, as he often does when pro-Palestine protesters gather at the courthouse. He stood across the street from the assembled demonstrators, waving his ostensibly apolitical Israeli flag.