by Rick Boone

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A swastika flag was seen hanging inside a state building in downtown Sacramento.

The Nazi flag was spotted by a pedestrian passing by the Department of Corrections building at 16th and T Streets in Downtown Sacramento. Parole officers say it was meant for training and have since taken down the flag and signs.

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Michael Johnson saw the flag hanging in a CDCR office. “Right there in front of me was a big giant red flag with a swastika on it and some large SS bolts,” he said.

At first, he thought it was a Halloween display in bad taste, but then he saw gang paraphernalia and other hate signs.

“I just don’t think it’s the proper display for a street-facing window,” Johnson said.

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The state parole officers who put up the Nazi flag and hate items said it’s all a misunderstanding. They say the presentation of hate in the state building was put together on purpose to be used as a teaching tool.

Agents insist the flags and signs are items confiscated from Sacramento-area prisoners and parolees and shown to staff as a way to show the type of hate displays that are circulating in jails.

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The explanation was not good enough for the neighbors who saw this, some saying it was just bad judgment.

“In this context, I don’t believe it was being delivered in that manner,” Johnson said.

The department of corrections has now pulled down not only the Nazi flag but removed all hate images from the office and building.

They also released a statement regarding the incident:

“CDCR has a zero-tolerance policy for the display of objects that are derogatory in nature and we are taking this issue very seriously. The flag has been removed and we will be looking into the circumstances for why the flag was in the office in the first place.”

Parole agents said they are still going to discuss these images to do their job and know what prisoners are promoting, but agents say they won’t be putting up displays anytime in the future.

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On Wednesday, the CDCR issued another statement about the incident, saying they have launched an investigation into the incident and plan to hold the people who violated their policies responsible. Read more here.