The first black police chief of a Minnesota town, who was hired in an effort to combat alleged racism, apologized after posting an image of a “Thin Blue Line Flag” on the department’s Facebook page.
The blue line on the flag is intended to represent law enforcement, standing between what is above the line, representing citizenry and order, and from what is below the line, representing crime and anarchy.
Police Chief Virgil Green posted the image on January 9 as the police force celebrated National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.
“The Golden Valley Police Department, like so many other departments across Minnesota, posted a social media message recognizing this important day for the men and women who serve their communities, including our very own Golden Valley police officers,” Green wrote. “Our social media post also included an image of the thin blue line flag. While the post was intended to thank our police officers, it appears the image offended some who viewed it. For this, I sincerely apologize.”
“For many, the thin blue line flag has always represented a way to honor the commitment we make as first responders to protect our community,” he continued. “It is disappointing that in recent years the flag’s positive intention has been tarnished with divisive undertones and actions. We do not want to promote these negative connotations.”
Green then encouraged the community to learn about the origin of the flag.
“While I do not want to go into detail about the purpose of the thin blue line flag, I encourage those interested to click the attached link to learn about the history of the flag and the intent of its creator,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Police Department is being harshly criticized after removing a “Thin Blue Line” flag from one of its stations after receiving a single complaint from a community member.
The flag was hung over the front desk of the Rampart police station, prompting one complaint claiming the flag represented extremist views.
The flag’s “display in our public lobbies can be divisive,” LAPD Police Chief Michel Moore stated in response to the complaint.
“It’s unfortunate that extremist groups have hijacked the use of the ‘Thin Blue Line Flag’ to symbolize their undemocratic, racist, and bigoted views,” he continued. “Flags serve as powerful symbols with specific meanings. The ‘Thin Blue Line Flag’ to me presents the honor, valor, dedication, and sacrifice of law enforcement to protect our communities. Tragically, that view is not universally held and others have been able to persuade the public it symbolizes racist, bigoted and oppressive values.”
“Given our lobbies should be places that people feel safe, free of political ideology, and welcoming, it remains our long-standing policy that only official items be displayed,” he concluded.