Police Blue Line Ban

In this Aug. 30, 2020 file photo, an unidentified man participates in a Blue Lives Matter rally in Kenosha, Wis. University of Wisconsin-Madison’s police chief has banned officers from using “Thin Blue Line” imagery while on duty. The move by Chief Kristen Roman follows criticism on social media of a “Thin Blue Line” flag displayed at the police department’s office. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)

What began as a symbol of solidarity and tribute to law enforcement has since become an image of controversy and it's now being thrust to the forefront in a mid-Michigan community.

What began as a symbol of solidarity and tribute to law enforcement has since become an image of controversy and it's now being thrust to the forefront in a mid-Michigan community.

Supporters of the "Thin Blue Line" flag a black and white rendition of the American flag with a blue stripe running under the stars say it was meant to represent the men and women in blue standing as a line between law and order.

Others see it differently after it's been used by white supremacist groups and was seen throughout the capitol riot in January.

Dewaun Robinson is the Black Lives Matter Flint chapter president.

"I think this is an insensitive resolution at this time. And this is one that this community is not in support of," Robinson said.

He's against a resolution being considered by the Genesee County Board of Commissioners to honor police. If approved the “Thin Blue Line” flag would be flown at county buildings as part of Police Appreciation Month.

"When you talk about the thin blue line you talk about white supremacy, you talk about the same mechanism that's been in place to keep an oppress black people," Robinson said.

John Gleason, the Genesee County Clerk and Register of Deeds, supports the measure.

"This is important that we stand with the men and women in law enforcement that protect us and ours every day," Gleason said.

He thinks the vote that is expected to take place Wednesday morning should be a slam dunk.

"Let’s use the flag for what it's meant to be. Let’s show reverence to the police officers that have lost their life protecting us. It's not that hard. I don't think it's a difficult decision at all," Gleason said.

Gleason is aware that there is opposition to the thin blue line flag. But he insists the flag is not the problem.

"The flag stands for goodness. Absolutely human frailties come into play because of the human activity," Gleason said.

As for Robinson, he said there are a few good cops out there. But until substantial police reform happens it will be impossible to honor those who wear the badge.

"Let’s get it right first before we show any appreciation towards police or any peace keepers in the community," Robinson said.

Copyright 2021 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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