Maryland Governor Criticizes Ban of 'Thin Blue Line' Flag Given to Police Station - NBC4 Washington

Maryland Governor Criticizes Ban of 'Thin Blue Line' Flag Given to Police Station

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    Thin Blue Line Flag Given to Police Creates Controversy

    The Montgomery County executive banned a "thin blue line" flag from a police station. His decision brought stinging criticism from the governor, but the county leader told News4's Darcy Spencer he fears what the flag represents could fuel racial tensions.

    (Published Monday, Nov. 4, 2019)

    A decision by a county executive in Maryland to ban a police station from displaying a "thin blue line" flag brought criticism from Gov. Larry Hogan.

    The wooden flag was a gift from a local resident in recognition of National First Responders Day. It was to be displayed in the 5th District Station.

    Democratic Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich said the flag provides a symbol of "support" to some but is a symbol of "dismissiveness" to others.

    Elrich said the flag is used by some in the Blue Lives Matter movement and sends the wrong message.

    “They show up as in opposition to Black Lives Matter; they’re seen as pushing back against people who believe that black lives matter, and it’s not something that a lot of people are comfortable with,” he said.

    Elrich told News4 his decision was in response to calls, emails and social media posts. He said while the sentiment of the gift is appreciated, the image is wrong for police.

    “I’m offended and disgusted that County Executive Marc Elrich has arbitrarily prohibited Montgomery County Police officers from displaying a ‘thin blue line’ American flag that was made for them by a father and his young son in honor of National First Responders Day,” Hogan, a Republican, said in a statement.

    He tweeted pictures of himself with the “thin blue line” flags hanging in the governor’s mansion.

    “He’s the governor of a state that has a whole lot of black citizens, and he’s got to know the sensitivity of this issue,” Elrich told News4. “I mean, my God, we watched what happened in Baltimore a couple years ago.”

    “We condemn this arbitrary, political action and are especially disappointed that Marcus Jones does not demonstrate appreciation and understanding of the concerns of working police officers,” Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 35 said in a statement. “The working police officers of Montgomery County are highly offended by this act of outright disrespect for them and that flag which represents the sacrifices and dedication of police officers who daily risk their lives, health, limbs and own well-being in service to their community.”

    The statement went on to say Lodge 35 would accept the banned flag.

    News4 reached out to the man who gave the police station the flag but has not heard back from him.

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