The Los Angeles Police Department banned the Thin Blue Line flag from public areas within police departments this week over a complaint that the flag represented “violent, extremist views.”
LAPD Chief Michel Moore defended the controversial move to Fox News, saying, “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 explained that a flag displayed in one station’s lobby spurred a complaint and he added, “It’s unfortunate that extremist groups have hijacked the use of the ‘Thin Blue Line flag’ to symbolize their undemocratic, racist, and bigoted views.”
The LAPD chief ordered all flags with the symbol to be removed from public areas. Moore said officers still can display the flag “their workspace, locker door, or personal vehicle.”
While Moore said he 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.”
Moore said station lobbies should be places where citizens feel welcome and safe and “free of political ideology.”
However, the Los Angeles Police Protective League called 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 union said they “vehemently” opposed “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 argued the flag was actually 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.
The Thin Blue Line USA website says, “The Thin Blue Line flag is flown to show support for our heroes in law enforcement and serves as a consoling reminder they will always be there to protect us. For those who walk it, the Thin Blue Line is a reflection of courage, a pledge of brotherhood and a tribute to those who have fallen in the line of duty.”