After receiving a complaint that the thin blue line flag represented “violent, extremist views” this week, the Los Angeles Police Department determined that the flag would be banned from public areas within police departments.
The controversial move was defended by LAPD Chief Michel Moore, who said in a statement to Fox News, “Yesterday, we received a community complaint of the presence of a Blue Line Flag” with “the view that it symbolized support for violent extremist views, such as those represented by the Proud Boys and others.”
“I directed to have the item taken down from the public lobby. The U.S. flag should be proudly displayed in our lobbies whenever possible. Memorials for our fallen are also authorized in all public spaces,” he said.
Moore stated that a flag, which was displayed in the lobby of one station, sparked a complaint, adding, “It’s unfortunate that extremist groups have hijacked the use of the ‘Thin Blue Line flag’ to symbolize their undemocratic, racist, and bigoted views.”
Moore ordered that all flags with the symbol be removed from public areas, giving officers the permission to display the flag in “their workspace, locker door, or personal vehicle.”
While Moore said he personally viewed the flag as symbolizing “the honor, valor, dedication, and sacrifice of law enforcement to protect our communities,” he said others had undermined the flag with their “racist, bigoted and oppressive values,” adding that station lobbies should be places where citizens feel welcome, safe and “free of political ideology.”
However, the news was not taken well by everyone, as a union representing police officers in the county fired back at the news, calling it “political pandering.”
“It is difficult to express the level of utter disgust and disappointment with Chief Moore’s politically pandering directive to remove Thin Blue Line flags and memorials for fallen officers from all public areas within our police stations. This direction came as a result of complaints from anti-police, criminal apologists, and activists who hold too much sway over our city leaders and, unfortunately, our Chief,” the Board of Directors for the Los Angeles Police Protective League wrote in a statement.
The group “vehemently” opposes “this disrespectful and defeatist kowtowing by our department leadership to groups that praise the killing of police officers and outright call for violence against those of us in uniform. We have directly expressed our outrage to the Chief.”
The group, which reportedly represents more than 9,900 members of the LAPD, disagreed with the chief’s claim that the flag was divisive, arguing instead that it was a “symbol of unity.”
“Let’s all remember what the Thin Blue Line flag is and what it represents: ‘The Thin Blue Line flag features a black and white image of the American flag with the horizontal stripe beneath the field of white stars on the black background. The stars represent the citizenry who stand for justice and order. The darkness represents chaos and anarchy, and to many, a memorial to the law enforcement officers who have perished in the line of duty,'” the statement said.