After a week of debate over a handmade Thin Blue Line Flag that was removed from the Officer Down Memorial Tunnel by Democrats, the flag has been returned to its home.
The flag quietly was put back up… despite earlier suggestions to high level lawmakers in Connecticut that the lawmakers who had it removed would be formally apologizing.
They did not. There was no apology. No press conference. Just a flag quietly put back up… just as it had been removed.
“They had no idea the amount of backlash they’d receive from the Blue family and their supporters.”
That was the message from a Connecticut lawmaker who spoke to Law Enforcement Today (LET) on the condition of anonymity yesterday.
“I was glad to hear the news that the Connecticut Democrats reversed course and decided to do the right thing,” said J.R. Romano, Chairman of the Connecticut Republican Party. “This flag is representative of those who hold the line between good and evil and is a reminder of those who made the ultimate sacrifice to hold that line no matter their color, race or creed.”
The officer makes wooden Thin Blue Line flags in honor of the men and women who protect and serve our communities. When he donated a handmade flag to the State Capitol Police Department (SCPD), a group of officers got the proper permissions to get the flag mounted at the Connecticut State Capitol building in honor of the Officer Down Memorial Tunnel.
The flag had been hung for about a month. This week, a number of Black & Puerto Rican Caucus members reportedly got together and lodged a formal complaint to their legislative leaders, asking the Executive Director to have it taken down.
And he did.
Without any explanation to the officers who donated it, without any transparency to the public, the flag was suddenly removed and placed in a storage closet, waiting to be returned to the man who created it.
Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) immediately offered the department a more prominent and appropriate home for the flag, suggesting it go on display in a national memorial courtyard at their headquarters. The mission of C.O.P.S. is to rebuild shattered lives of survivors and co-workers affected by line-of-duty deaths. They have chapters in every state, including Connecticut.
“The thin blue line flag represents the law enforcement professionals who are willing to sacrifice everything for the good of ALL of the citizens of this country,” said Dianne Bernhard, Executive Director of C.O.P.S.
“The thin line between peace and chaos in our society is made up of the men and women who choose to potentially sacrifice everything for the common good of us all. Individuals who choose to become law enforcement officers come from every ethnic, racial and socio-economic background. If you look at the profiles of the officers who have died in the line of duty, you will see diversity, much like the make-up of this great country. But more importantly, these fallen officers represent a common resolve across all of our differences to preserve the integrity of our nation’s laws and the safety of all who call America home.”
Bernhard goes on to say that the thin blue flag represents the collective pride and resolve of the law enforcement community to honor ALL of those who are currently our nation’s protectors and those who have fallen in our collective quest for good to prevail.
“C.O.P.S. doesn’t see our fallen officers by the color of their skin, but instead C.O.P.S. sees our fallen officers by the honor and reverence they deserve–as our nation’s heroes.”
The officer who made the flag was set for Thursday morning to present the flag on Fox & Friends to the surviving spouse of an officer killed in the line of duty. She was going to receive the flag on behalf of C.O.P.S. until the word came in that the flag would once again be going back up.
OFC Scott Driscoll, the Public Information Officer from the Connecticut State Capitol Police, issued the following statement earlier in the day:
“The Connecticut State Capitol Police Department submitted a request to fly a thin blue line flag in the Legislative Office Building/Capitol Building concourse; this area is set up as a law enforcement memorial. The request to display this flag was to remember those officers who died in the line of duty and their families. The request was approved by Legislative Management and was hung. On February 20, 2019 the flag was removed. Any further questions about its removal should be directed to Legislative Management.”
Those who complained over the flag being displayed in the Capitol claimed that the symbolism behind the flag represents an opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement.
“In the context of history behind it a lot of my members expressed a lot of concerns especially in this building,” said Rep. Brandon McGee, (D) chairman of the Black & Puerto Rican Caucus.
“We are not anti- you know – police; we support our men in blue but we also know that given the history around black people, people of color with respect to this particular issue. I just think it was necessary to share our concerns with our leadership,” McGee finished.
Earlier in the day, Romano was one of many representatives who expressed how disturbed they were.
“It’s incredibly disappointing to not understand that this flag is meant to honor police officers that were killed in the line of duty. And it’s extremely disrespectful to the families of those officers that this flag was removed,” he said.
To add insult to injury, the spot where the flag hung was specifically reserved for a police memorial.
So because a flag… an American flag, has triggered certain people, officers who have given their lives in the line of duty are no longer honored in the Capitol building.
If you remember from last year, a Connecticut Democrat by the name of Minnie Gonzalez found herself in the media spotlight after trashing police officers in a legislative hearing over a police accountability bill.
“This bill is to hold accountable and to stop those cowboys that, because they got a bat and a gun, they think they can go shooting especially young kids in our community. This is not the Wild Wild West. And no consequences. Those cowboys doesn’t belong in the police department. This abuse has got to stop.”
These are the same out-of-touch politicians that are furthering the divide between the public and police, all while making it seem like they’re fighting for the common man.
In an article Wednesday morning, NBC 30 Connecticut News called the flag ‘controversial artwork.’
Naked statues are controversial artwork.
An American flag honoring and supporting the men and women who go to war for us every day is not ‘controversial.’
Our stars and stripes are not ‘controversial.’
The meaning of the unity behind the stars is not ‘controversial.’
This removal is not only sad; it’s what the President of the CT Fraternal Order of Police called a direct attack on officers around the country. It’s our elected government leaders saying: we don’t care about police.
And it’s not just here. Recently we’ve seen a giant rise in cities across America offering sanctuary to illegal immigrants, refusing to have their officers comply with members of ICE. We’ve seen judges releasing hardened criminals back onto the streets. We’ve seen governors pardoning murderers and convicted felons.
To our politicians: what is happening to the sense of right and wrong in our country?
When is the false narrative that police are racist killers targeting unarmed black men going to be publicly addressed and corrected? (Here’s the proof…)
If we don’t speak up about the way officers are being treated now… what will our future look like?
We’re not staying silent. Are you with us?