Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore has issued a ban on displaying the “thin blue line” flag at public events and station lobbies.
The Saturday mandate comes in response to the flag’s divisive symbolism, with some believing it represents support for law enforcement while others saying it’s become a symbol of far-right ideology and white supremacism.
Moore has also prohibited any use of the thin blue line patch on officer uniforms or bumper stickers on police vehicles.
Displaying the flag on non-public property such as an officer’s locker, personal workspace or personal vehicle is still allowed, officials said.
The flag in question is a black-and-white colored U.S. flag with a single blue stripe in the middle.
Moore released a statement on the decision saying:
“Earlier this week there was a member of the public that complained of a ‘Thin Blue Line Flag’ being displayed over the front desk of Rampart Station. The complaint stems from their belief the symbol signifies support of extremist views such as those espoused by the Proud Boys and others. I directed to have the item taken down from the public lobby.
While I do not personally view the ‘Thin Blue Line Flag’ in the same manner as the community member and others, its display in our public lobbies can be divisive.
It’s unfortunate that extremist groups have hijacked the use of the ‘Thin Blue Line Flag’ to symbolize their undemocratic, racist, and bigoted views. Flags serve as powerful symbols with specific meanings. The ‘Thin Blue Line Flag’ to me presents the honor, valor, dedication, and sacrifice of law enforcement to protect our communities. Tragically, that view is not universally held and others have been able to persuade the public it symbolizes racist, bigoted and oppressive values.
Given our lobbies should be places that people feel safe, free of political ideology, and welcoming, it remains our long-standing policy that only official items be displayed.
I understand the frustration some may feel on this issue with an accompanying sense of a lack of support of their dedication on my part. I’m mindful of the Los Angeles Police Protective League’s (LAPPL) expressed disappointment in my directive. My commitment to you is unwavering as I strive each day to protect and serve you as well as the people of Los Angeles.”