A group of University of California, Davis students took offense at a photograph of a 22-year-old female police officer who was shot to death on January 10, and the reason for their outrage was itself outrageous: in the photo, which was taken from a series taken in 2016, officer Natalie Corona was holding a Thin Blue Line flag.
As Todd Starnes of Fox News reports, California photographer Rich Laus took the pictures, in which Corona wore a blue gown as she carried the flag. Corona posted one on Facebook with the caption, “I would like this photograph to serve as my gratitude for all of those law enforcement men and women who have served, who are currently serving, and those who have died in the line of duty protecting our liberties in this great country.”
But the Associated Students, UC-Davis Ethnic and Cultural Affairs Commission, unlike others who liked the picture, objected. In a post from a Facebook page that has since been deleted, they wrote,“The flag is blatantly anti-Black and disrespectful … We see it necessary to call-out all community members who continue to post and disseminate images of the Blue Lives Matter flag online. We would like to directly address that this flag represents an attempt by law enforcement to undermine the Black Lives Matter movement.”
The Ethnic and Cultural Affairs Commission also offered to provide help for students “triggered by this event and the circulating images of a flag that has been popularized by the ‘Blue Lives Matter’ crowd.” “Flashing lights, sirens and increased police presence can be triggering to many Black and Brown people,” they wrote.
Michael Gofman, the president of the Associated Students, UC-Davis, responded on Facebook to the post from the Ethnic and Cultural Affairs Commission: “I wholeheartedly condemn the Ethnic and Cultural Affairs commission for this disgusting post. It’s easy to sit on the third floor of the Memorial Union where there are at least 100 brave men and women in blue between you and the shooter. It is easy to argue hypotheticals, politics, and ideology when you’re in safety. I am ashamed that some of these same people, protected by the very officers that they are condemning, have the audacity to politicize the loss of a young officer. Her only crime was being a police officer.”
As The Sacramento Bee reported, Corona was on patrol alone on the evening of January 10. On the scene of a three-car collision near downtown Davis, she was in the midst of giving one of the motorists their driver’s license back when her 48-year-old assailant, who was riding his bicycle, left his bicycle in the shadows, then neared Corona and shot Corona in the neck, then continued shooting her after she had fallen to the ground. The gunman then started shooting at others, including a firefighter. After being tracked by police to his rental home and being summoned to come out, he did twice, once while brandishing a handgun and wearing a ballistic vest, then returned inside and shot himself in the head. Police later found a note he had written blaming the department for “hitting me with ultra sonic waves meant to keep dogs from barking.”