Yesterday we detailed an uproar over a Thin Blue Line flag that was given to the Montgomery County Police Department in Germantown, Maryland.
As an update to that story, Law Enforcement Today has obtained the original letter that started the entire thing.
It was sent with a subject line that read:
“REMOVE “Blue Lives Matter” Flag From 5th District Station IMMEDIATELY!!!
While it should come as no surprise in with the hostility shown officers in today’s climate, the body of the letter was appalling.
“As a lifelong County resident and thirteen-year County employee, I am writing to express my shock, outrage and disgust at the audacity of the Montgomery County Police Department to proudly and publicly display a racial hate symbol in a County building.
The posting of the “Blue Lives Matter” flag sends a horrifically callous message to people of color in our county – that they are not respected, valued or protected. The police can pretend that “Blue Lives Matter” is a simple police support group all they want.
We are all aware of the real truth:”
Side note: Real truth? Is there a false truth? Truth is truth. And this writer’s version of reality is far from the truth. Now, back to their idiotic diatribe.
“That Blue Lives Matter is a co-opt of an anti-racist slogan that is used interchangeably with “Thin Blue Line” propaganda to spread a racist message of hate, one that used to inspire fear and directly encourage violence against people of color.
I am not surprised that this occurred – police have been a bolstered and protected class within the County for decades, and new leadership doesn’t appear to have changed this fact.
I am writing now not because I expect you to do the right thing (I don’t have faith in the police to EVER do the right thing, in fact) but because confronted and publicly shamed for this act, and be forced to grapple with whether or not Montgomery County truly wishes to embrace racist hate symbols in public buildings.
Whatever MCPD and FRS get up to on their own time is their business – but to display this symbol so prominently and proudly within a public building is beyond the pale.
Shame on you all.”
There you have it, folks. A county employee, attacking the very police department that serves and protects them.
This letter started a whirlwind of Anti-police rhetoric that culminated in County Executive Marc Elrich saying that the flag would not be displayed.
Here is the original article:
Apparently, the concept of what the Thin Blue Line flag represents is so triggering to people that a local police department in Germantown, Maryland has caved to the incessant rantings online to a recent post where the department proudly showed of a gifted flag that they had received from a local resident.
On October 30thof this year, officers for the Montgomery County police posed for a photograph with local resident James Shelton while they were being presented with a beautifully crafted wooden flag, forged in the style of the Thin Blue Line.
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 flag will be displayed in the 5th District Station. pic.twitter.com/kbAI32xHkY
— Montgomery County Department of Police (@mcpnews) October 30, 2019
Sadly, after some unsurprising online backlash from people on Twitter who associate the flag with radical ideals like to “demean & diminish the Black Lives Matter [Movement]”, the department has decided to not hang the flag at the station.
Some would call the flag a Blue Lives Matter flag or a Thin Blue Line flag; however, one would describe it, what is certainly is not is some symbol of hate, yet it often gets lumped in with actual symbols of hate by ignorant individuals.
The work was donated to the police 5th District station in Germantown for National First Responders Day, according to the police department.
The department initially took to Twitter with the photo of their officers alongside James Shelton and had stated it will be displayed at the station. Yet, two days later after posting the photo, they had also announced via Twitter on the same post that they’ve decided to not hang the flag at the station.
Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich said today that won’t be happening, because the flag is alarming to some.
Well, “alarming” isn’t the correct word to use in this instance. I believe the word that the County Executive was looking for was “triggering”. It’s okay though, we’re aware that officials aren’t too keen on using accurate language when playing the role of being politically correct, that’s what people like us are for: to call it for it is.
According to a statement by the department that was announced on Twitter following the slew of online tantrum throwers that was spaced out between three separate comments on the original thread:
The Blue Lives Matter flag & movement were created in response to the Black Lives Matter mvmt. The primary purpose isn’t to honor cops; it‘s to demean & diminish the Black Lives Matter mvmt—illogically, as being a cop is a choice & being Black is not.
It’s racist. Take it down.
— Kristin Mink #ImpeachTrump #ImpeachKavanaugh (@KristinMinkDC) October 31, 2019
“The flag provides a symbol of support to some but it is a symbol of dismissiveness to others. 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.”
Elrich said both he and Acting Police Chief Marcus Jones “understand the concerns of the community.”
Though, is this honestly a community concern, or are these the opinions of some scattered online avatars? Well, it might be more along the lines of the latter.
The comments section was “graced” with the appearance of crazy Kristin Mink.
For those not familiar with her, she was the woman who confronted Scott Pruitt from the EPA while he was having lunch and listed copious unsubstantiated claims of corruption against him.
Also, she’s not even a resident the state of Maryland, she lives in D.C.; thus, cementing that the highest profile protest was from some out-of-state climate alarmist.
🚨 MARYLANDERS 🚨 ICE is holding separated children in a facility in Maryland!! Marylanders are PROFITING off this atrocity! Show up TONIGHT to protest! Go go go!!! https://t.co/o2WINJukXs
— Kristin Mink #ImpeachTrump #ImpeachKavanaugh (@KristinMinkDC) June 22, 2018
Mink’s comment to the original post stated:
“The Blue Lives Matter flag & movement were created in response to the Black Lives Matter mvmt. The primary purpose isn’t to honor cops; it’s to demean & diminish the Black Lives Matter mvmt—illogically, as being a cop is a choice & being Black is not.”
However, not all were sold on the rhetoric Mink, and those like her, were slinging when receiving responses like the following by a Twitter user named AnthonyJGeorge1:
Im glad you are so well versed when as to when inanimate object became a symbol of what you think it does. The "thin blue line" has been around for a long time, as the "thin red line". After 911 it was used as a representation theb of those lost while protecting their community.
— AnthonyJGeorge (@AnthonyJGeorge1) November 2, 2019
“Im glad you are so well versed when as to when inanimate object became a symbol of what you think it does. The “thin blue line” has been around for a long time, as the “thin red line”. After 911 it was used as a representation the of those lost while protecting their community.”
Overall, it’s becoming all the more sad to see police officials and politicians cave to faux outrage over things that people really shouldn’t be getting mad about. We here hope to see that flag get displayed within the station to honor our officers that hold the Thin Blue Line every day.
It’s not the first time in recent memory this has happened.
Take a look at what happened in Massachusetts over the summer.
According to the Daily Hampshire Gazette, a piece of art gifted by Easthampton City Councilor Owen Zaret to the city’s chief first responders garnered backlash on social media after some citizens decried the gift’s symbolic message as racist — prompting Zaret to acknowledge being “tone-deaf” regarding the image.
This begs the question to be asked, which is worse? The reaction to the gift, or the Councilor’s apology?
Last week, Zaret posted a photo of himself, Fire Chief David Mottor, Police Chief Robert Alberti and Mayor Nicole LaChapelle around a piece of art depicting a black-and-white American flag, with one half-red and half-blue stripe representing fire and police departments.
He presented it to Mottor and Alberti to be displayed in the city’s Public Safety Complex.
“May it be a reminder to all of their lives that they risk every day, the great work they do, and how well they work together,” Zaret wrote on the post.
He also noted that the flag was created by local artist Dave Murrett.
And the social justice warriors went into overdrive. They were quick to inform Zaret that the “thin blue line” depicted in the art piece had become emblematic of “Blue Lives Matter,” a movement, the Gazette explains, that advocates for the prosecution of police murders as hate crimes. The movement arose in response to “Black Lives Matter,” a campaign against police brutality and systemic racism in policing toward black people.
“This is awful. Shocking that a city councilor would gift such a problematic flag to the city — a flag that represents white supremacy — makes me concerned about the decisions you make as a public official,” wrote one commenter.
“Original intent of the blue line is irrelevant; it now represents racism. Just as the Confederate flag does even if that was not the original intent,” wrote another.
One person commented:
“Amazing work with those flags. Very kind gift.”
For some reason, Zaret is now apologizing, posting on Facebook that his intent was “solely to illustrate appreciation and collaboration between the two departments.”
“Unfortunately, recent events have resulted in a conflation of this symbol with white supremacy,” he wrote in a comment on the post. “This was not the original intended meaning, and it was not the message intended behind this artistic rendering. I apologize that my actions directly caused such division, where my intention was to bring people together.”
He furthered stated in an interview:
“It was never my intention to upset members of the community or make anyone feel marginalized or unsafe,” he said. “I simply wanted to express how much I respect police and fire and the work they do. I’ve become aware that there are some groups with racist intentions that have co-opted the symbol,” he said.
Zaret also pointed out that the flag includes a thin red line, which he said was meant to also express appreciation to firefighters and the dangerous work they do. The art is currently on display in the city’s Public Safety Complex.
“I think our police and fire do an amazing job with our city,” he said. “In contrast with what we are seeing in some cases nationally, we have a very engaged police department, as is our fire department.”
Calling the backlash “a learning opportunity,” Zaret said he saw an occasion for community discussion on the issue.
“I may have clearly been a little tone-deaf, even though I had good intentions,” he said. “I’m not a perfect person, but I think the work I’ve done and my actions on behalf of the people and the city have set a precedent.”
The artist, Dave Murrett, took to Facebook to defend his work.
“I’m going to respond once because I think there are a lot of unfair accusations being made – particularly to Owen. But this seems to have gone from 0-100 in a split second. It’s disappointing that the message of this flag has been lost.
The true meaning of the flag dates back years ago where it was originally used in the army. But just like fire is associated with red and police with blue they adopted the colors as the years went on. The meaning behind the Thin Blue Line is simple.
The black stripes represent those officers lost in the line of duty and the blue line separating the black and white stripe represents the police officers who protect and stand between the bad and good. That’s the meaning behind the flag and was meant as a gesture by Owen to show appreciation for the departments and how well they work together.
The people who truly know me and I’m assuming those who know Owen know there is no hidden meaning behind the flag. Specifically, no meaning of white supremacy. When I read those comments or saw it was taken as a hate symbol, I was pretty surprised.
It is also meant as no response to any other movement in the Country. This isn’t a flag that showed up in the last 5-7 years. It dates back hundreds of years. As for the new interpretation I can only say that’s a huge accusation to accuse someone of giving a racist, white supremacist gift to the city.
As for the concerns regarding altering a flag, with a wooden flag there is no code. I have a long line of military service in my family and I can day that each flag is done with pride and respect. It’s disappointing that the message was lost so quickly.
That said, I’ve received a handful of orders already and I’ll keep making them with the pride I always have.”
Meanwhile, many people announced their displeasure with the gift and subscribed to the belief that the Thin Blue Line is not only racist but put the police in the same conversation with Nazis.
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And before you think that this problem comes from the gift being so ‘controversial,” because…racism, let’s move over one city on the map to Northampton.
In December of 2018, Walmart officially rescinded its pledge to donate over $10,000 worth of ammunition to the Northampton Police Dept. after city officials fought over whether to accept the gift, reported MassLive.
The major corporation offered up the $13,000 worth of unwanted ammunition to NPD after Walmart stopped selling it at their Northampton location, but found serious pushback from City Councilors.
“It’s one thing to get a bus to transport children for educational purposes than with bullets, which are used for purposes that can kill people,” said Ward 7 Councilor Alisa Klein.
It gets more ridiculous.
“And the police do have to come under a particular type of scrutiny because of the power they hold, and the responsibility they have in our community is a particular kind of responsibility.”
Local citizens also voiced their concerns.
“This gift is a transaction between two incredibly powerful institutions,” said one townsperson. “Please begin having conversations about why NPD needs bullets in the first place.”
Mayor David Narkewicz stated that the 70,000 rounds of ammo would be used for training purposes at the department’s firing range. The apparent scrutiny over the offer was “unprecedented”, as typical donations from corporations are rarely discussed or prevented.
Not to mention, Narkewicz also claimed that he was unaware of any instance where an NPD officer has had to discharge their weapon since 1978.
So why is this gift such a heavily debated topic?
The apparent pulling of the offer was “communicated verbally” to a firearms instructor and came as a shock to Chief of Police Jody Kasper. In an email sent to Narkewicz, Kasper expressed concern over the “anti-police rhetoric” that the department continues to face.
“Within City Council chambers, matters involving the police department quickly shift to aggressive anti-police rhetoric from a small number of community members,” Kasper wrote to Narkewicz.
She went on to write:
“Despite our dedication, recognition, and leadership in the field, we continue to experience a growing anti-police narrative in the very community that we serve so well.”
This only continues to show the growing divide between members of law enforcement and the general public. When citizens are stepping forward and calling for the disarming or reduced resources of police, everyone’s life is put in jeopardy.
Additionally, with growing morale issues in departments as well as struggles with recruitment and retention, we all need to be fighting a little harder for the ones who wear the badge and uniform.
At the end of the day, this donation would have saved the city precious dollars and would only bolster the safety of the community, but instead it leaves our brothers and sisters less trained and less prepared.
This is not the first occurrence we have seen where “woke” snowflakes went after the Thin Blue Line flag.
Law Enforcement Today reported about the family of a Maine police officer killed in the line of duty who had come under fire over displaying a Thin Blue Line Flag to mark the anniversary of his death.
That family says they were forced to take it down.
Trooper Charles Black was shot and killed during a bank robbery in 1964.
His son, who is also named Charlie Black, put up the Thin Blue Line flag on a utility pole near his home. It led to area residents flipping out about an “offensive symbol” on public property.
The town manager of York, Maine said it started when a person walked into his office to complain.
“A resident came in and said there’s a problem,” Town Manager Steve Burns said.
The resident said:
“This is a flag that represents segregation and discrimination.”
Burn could have just laughed it off. He didn’t. He instead called the family. Why? Who knows. He seems surprised that the widow took the news hard.
“This is just ripping a wound in her heart,” Burn said.” It was pure instant emotion for her and her whole family.”
The mother requested that her son take down the flag after all of the pushback from the town.
Now her son is beyond angry that the tribute to his father had gotten mired in a politically-charged debate.
The trooper’s widow happens to be the former York selectman, Mary Black Andrews. She said the last thing she wanted was to stoke divisions.
“God forbid we should offend anyone,” she said. “It bothers me tremendously. It’s the anniversary of his death. He gave his life to protect the public, and I gave my life to this town, and we can’t even celebrate this person. I’m sorry I offended them. It’s coming down and it won’t happen again.”
Here’s the back story on the trooper who was killed.
It happened on July 9, 1964 in York, Maine.
State Trooper Charlie Clinton Black readied himself for a day of testimony in court in nearby Berwick.
The trooper was 28-years-old, a veteran of the United States Air Force and had already given 6 years of service to the Maine State Police. He said his morning farewells to his two small boys and his 27 year old wife Mary who was 9 months pregnant with their third child.
Trooper Black drove his cruiser away from his family, never to come home again.
Seacoastonline reports that Trooper Black spent his morning at the courthouse but took a break outside on the front steps. On the other side of the building, two men piled out of a Buick and ran into the First National Bank.
The men wore masks, dark coveralls and large hats. A bystander by the name of Walter Buckley ran to the young Trooper yelling that the bank was being robbed. Without hesitation, Trooper Black darted in the direction of the bank.
Trooper Black ran right into the robbers as they fled the bank, bags of cash in their arms. As the officer was mid-draw of his service weapon, the first shot was fired. Black fell to the ground, killed instantly.
Walter Buckley, who followed behind Black, managed to grab the trooper’s gun and hold one criminal in place. However, the thief who shot Black escaped, Seacoastonline reports.
Back in York, a neighbor ran to the Black home, telling his wife Mary only that there had been an accident. Mary was shocked as Charlie was due in court, not on patrol. She tuned in to the police scanner for news. She recalls:
“I heard it on the radio. That’s how I was notified.”
The man who murdered Trooper Black was eventually apprehended. He had escaped from a prison in New Jersey only seven days prior, according to Seacoastonline. He was sentenced to life in prison… but was released after only 7.
Up until this controversy, Mary Black Andrews flew that Thin Blue Line Flag in memory of her young husband who courageously served, running into the conflict when many would have run away. The flag is a sign of support not only for the men and women who serve today, but have sacrificed through the years, billowing from the same home that Trooper Black drove away from 55 years ago this month.
The York Diversity Forum sought a meeting with Burns as the organization feels the flag can be interpreted as racist. Residents feel that the flag is a symbol used by white supremacists.
Susan Kepner, president of the Form, said that white nationalists used the Thin Blue Line flag as one of their symbols in the Charlottesville rally that turned deadly… and so that somehow makes the flag racist.
“It looks just like an American flag but it’s black and white,” Kepner told News Center Maine. “We were concerned about the message that sends. We get along well with the Police Department, and we honor fallen heroes as well as anyone else. We would just like positive messages out there.”
She claims the problem is the PUBLIC property.
But wait, aren’t officers PUBLIC servants?
“If people want to hang the flag on their private property, that’s their right. But it could be a can of worms if we allow flags all over town on those brackets.”
But here’s the thing. According to York Police Chief Charles Szeniawski, the town doesn’t have a policy about placing flags in places other than private residences.
“There is no policy about flags. Can anyone put anything up there? I don’t know. Maybe it’s something we should look at.”
He says people are twisting the meaning of the flag.
“It’s how people interpret it,” he said. “For most officers that’s the Thin Blue Line flag. Just because you’re an officer doesn’t allow you to do anything you want. You can’t cross that line. That’s what it means to most of us.”