A “thin blue line” flag meant to honor law enforcement was removed from the Connecticut State Capitol this week after Democrats complained it might offend Black Lives Matter supporters.
The handmade wooden plaque depicting a “thin blue line” flag — an altered American flag with a horizontal blue stripe through the center — was recently donated to the Capitol building by a member of the State Capitol Police. Until this week, it hung in the Police Memorial Hall connecting the Legislative Office Building to the Capitol building, a local NBC affiliate reported.
The Office of Legislative Management, which originally approved the piece without it going through the normal vetting process, ultimately decided to take it down after some legislators complained it could be interpreted as anti-Black Lives Matter, ;NBC Connecticut reported.
Similar flags have made appearances in counter-protests during Black Lives Matter demonstrations across the country. In 2017, a version of the thin blue line flag was removed from a courthouse in Oregon after the symbol was displayed by white supremacists at the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“In the context of history behind it, a lot of my members expressed a lot of concerns, especially in this building,” Connecticut state Rep. Brandon McGee, chairman of the Black & Puerto Rican Caucus, told NBC Connecticut.
“We are not anti-police,” Mr. McGee said. “We support our men in blue, but we also know that given the history around black people, people of color with respect to this particular issue, I just think it was necessary for us to share our concerns with our leadership.”
While the artwork sits in storage waiting to be returned to its owner, Republicans are fighting for it to be reinstated.
“This flag intended to honor the work, dedication, sacrifice and lives of our past and present officers,” House Republican leader Themis Klarides told the Hartford Courant. “To suggest that this American flag that was donated by the State Capitol Police is anything other than honorable is categorically false. The House Republican caucus would like to publicly request that the American flag honoring our law enforcement officers here at the Capitol and throughout Connecticut be put back in its rightful and approved location — the Police Memorial Hall here at the Capitol.”
In an interview Wednesday night with a local Fox affiliate, Mr. McGee said he would be open to seeing the flag reinstated after becoming more “educated” on its meaning during a conversation with John Krupinsky, president of the Connecticut State Fraternal Order of Police.
“Having had conversations with John, I was a bit more educated on the differences between the flags,” Mr. McGee said. “I hope that this conversation does not stop today.”
© Copyright (c) 2019 News World Communications, Inc.
This content is published through a licensing agreement with Acquire Media using its NewsEdge technology.