Police station is banned from displaying 'divisive thin blue line' flag after complaints it's 'dismissive' of the Black Lives Matter movementPosted: Updated:
A Maryland police department has been banned from displaying a 'thin blue line' flag after it as dubbed 'divisive' of a community, some of which argues it was 'dismissive of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The Daily Mail reports that, on Wednesday, cops shared their intention to display the gift, with a tweet that included a picture of three cops, who appear to be white, accepting the flag from a resident and his son.
'Thank you to resident James Shelton, who presented Montgomery County 5th District officers with a wooden American Flag that he had made in recognition of National First Responders Day,' the picture was captioned. 'The flag will be displayed in the 5th District Station.'
Montgomery County 5th District tweeted thank you to resident James Shelton (second from right with his son) on Wednesday, who presented officers with a wooden American Flag
However they were stopped in their tracks after many community members responded with negative reactions.
'This flag, the symbol of 'Blue Lives Matter,' excuses police violence against black residents, and mocks those who affirm that #BlackLivesMatter,' one person tweeted. 'That is not what @MontgomeryCoMD stands for. Take down this tweet, and do not hang up that flag!'
For another, it evoked memories of 2017's Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia where one person died and dozens of others were injured when a man deliberately rammed his car into the crowd of counter-protesters.
'This is unacceptable. This flag was carried by the white supremacists in Charlottesville and has a meaning far beyond what you intend. (I hope!) Please do not raise this in a public building,' one woman responded.
Another person tweeted, 'The Blue Lives Matter flag & movement were created in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. The primary purpose isn't to honor cops; it's to demean & diminish the Black Lives Matter movement—illogically, as being a cop is a choice & being Black is not. It's racist. Take it down.'
Black Lives Matter is an activist movement formed in 2013 that campaigns against violence and systemic racism toward black people.
On Friday Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich stated 'because it is divisive, the flag will not be posted in any public space within the Department.'
Proponents of Blue Lives Matter say it's meant to support and honor the work and sacrifices of law enforcement officers.
The Blue Lives Matter flag is a black-and-white American flag with a blue stripe replacing one white stripe in the middle.
Thin Blue Line USA, which sells the flags, says the thin blue line represents offices in the line of duty and the black represents fallen officers.
Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich ultimately decided displaying the wooden flag was a no-go.
'Acting Police Chief Marcus Jones and I understand the concerns of the community. The flag provides a symbol of support to some but it is a symbol of dismissiveness to others,' Police said Elrich wrote in a note. 'Because it is divisive, the flag will not be posted at the 5th District nor in any public space within the Police Department.
'Under my administration, we are committed to improving police relations with the community and will immediately address any action that stands against our mission.'
The decision left some in support of the flag fuming.
'For those on this thread bashing the thin blue line...wish the police could add your phone number to their database so when you call in desperate need for help they can take their sweet sweet time responding...' one social media user hit back. Another posted this tweet:
In April, an Oregon county agreed to pay $100,000 to a black employee who sued alleging she was harassed after asking that a Blue Lives Matter flag not be displayed in the office.
She said she was harassed by others in the office after she and other black co-workers complained, and notes on a photo wall of minorities killed by cops that she erected in response, included 'thanks a lot' and 'bitch'.
Guion-Pledgure's lawsuit said the Blue Lives Matter movement 'co-opts' the Black Lives Matter movement and 'repurposes it to shift focus to law enforcement — a chosen profession, not a racial identity — and thus denigrates, dilutes, and demeans the purpose of the Black Lives Matter movement.'