WARWICK — A blue line the village painted in the middle of Railroad Avenue about a month ago to support police officers is subject of a controversy, with supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement saying the line disrespects the cause and supporters of the line saying it should stay.
The two sides have been fighting it out on social media; Monday, they squared off at a contentious Village Board meeting. During the day Monday, before the meeting, the village repainted the line red, white and blue. The paint was still fresh Tuesday afternoon. It runs about 100 yards, right in the heart of the village’s business district.
When Warwick painted the line in October, it was part of a growing nationwide movement decorating streets with blue lines in a show of support for the “Thin Blue Line” of law enforcement.
But Warwick resident Jordan Novak, a vocal opponent of the line who posted a two-page essay about it on the website Change.org, said Warwick’s line was in “direct opposition” to the Black Lives Matter movement. “I wish there had never been a line,” said Novak, who said her parents are biracial.
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She said it’s difficult for people in a town that’s “91 percent white people” to understand the goals articulated by the Black Lives Matter movement. She said she supports local law enforcement, but the line divides the community. She added she has received threats since she came out against the line.
Warwick Mayor Michael Newhard did not return messages left at Village Hall and at his family’s store on Main St. A Times Herald-Record reporter stopped by both locations.
Novak commended the village for changing the paint to red, white and blue. “It’s a good compromise,” she said. But Novak said she’ll continue her fight against blue lines, and she’ll take the issue to Thursday’s Town Board meeting.
The Village of Greenwood Lake, which is also in the Town of Warwick, has a blue line running about a quarter-mile down Waterstone Road.
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