Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich doubled down Monday after Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan criticized his ban on displaying a thin blue line flag at a police station.
A father and son gave the wooden flag to the 5th District Station in recognition of National First Responders Day.
The thin blue line symbolizes how police stand between order and chaos, but some feel the flag is racist and dismissive of the Black Lives Matter movement.
So Elrich ordered it couldn’t be displayed.
"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."— Montgomery County Department of Police (@mcpnews) November 2, 2019
“I think all of us have got to think how are people going to take this symbol,” he said.
Elrich said white nationalists have carried the flag in the past and several black police officers found it inappropriate.
“The way it’s being interpreted I think endangers our ability to try to build bridges, and I’m trying to build bridges,” he said. “Obviously, some people are unhappy.”
University of Maryland sociology professor Dr. Rashawn Ray has researched the thin blue line flag and said he understands both sides.
“I think we have to realize that police officers put their lives on the line every single day, but at the same time there are still issues, and a lot of it centers on transparency,” he said.
Hogan issued a statement Sunday saying he was “offended and disgusted” the flag was taken down and twitted pictures of himself with the thin blue line flags hanging in the governor’s mansion.
Elrich said he doesn’t care what Hogan has to say about the issue.
“I wouldn’t talk to him about this; it’s a waste of time,” he said. “He shouldn’t be mucking in it; he ought to be thinking about his own constituents in the state who probably have the same concerns.”
The Fraternal Order of Police also criticized Elrich as well as the acting police chief in a statement Sunday, saying police officers are offended and the FOP would be honored to accept the flag.