Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore has banned the use of the “Thin Blue Line” flag from department use after receiving a complaint from a community member that the flag represents “extremist views.”
The complaint came after news of the death of Keenan Anderson, who died hours after being repeatedly tased by LAPD officers on January 3.
Moore said he does not view the pro-law-enforcement flag as an extremist symbol; however, he acknowledged in a statement that displaying the flag could be construed as a “divisive” symbol to some.
“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,” Moore said.
Moore said that the American flag will continue to be displayed in all station lobbies. LAPD employees and staff are still allowed to decorate their workspace, locker and personal vehicles with “Thin Blue Line” flags. He added that memorials for fallen officers will continue to be authorized in all public spaces.
“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,” Moore said.
The Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL), the union representing LAPD officers, expressed disappointment in Moore’s decision to remove the flag.
Mark Morgan, a senior law enforcement analyst and former police officer, blasted the move as “idiotic” and “nothing more than political pandering.”
Morgan went even further and said the chief “became an activist and no longer a chief” when he made the decision to remove the flag. “If he had any dignity or respect, he should say, I got it wrong and resign,” he told Newsmax.