Police in Montgomery County, Maryland, said a wooden American flag that was given by a local child for National First Responders Day won’t be displayed.
A resident James Shelton and his young son, Forrest, handcrafted a wooden Thin Blue Line flag for the Montgomery County Police Department’s 5th District in Germantown and a Thin Red Line flag for the firefighters at Quince Orchard Fire Station 31, according to Blue Lives Matter.
On Wednesday, Oct. 30, police shared their intention to display the gift, with a tweet that included a picture of three police, who appear to be white, accepting the flag from Shelton and Forrest.
Thank you to resident James Shelton, who presented Montgomery County 5th District officers with a wooden American Flag that he had made in recognition of National First Responders Day. The flag will be displayed in the 5th District Station. pic.twitter.com/kbAI32xHkY
— Montgomery County Department of Police (@mcpnews) October 30, 2019
Within hours, many community members responded with negative reactions.
- “That’s [sic] a blue lives matter flag. It’s [sic] racist and dangerous. take it down NOW.” – @kpk63
- “No disrespect to the citizens who were trying to show appreciation for their local police, but Blue Lives Matter is a racist response to Black Lives Matter and DOES NOT belong in a county facility. Take it down!” – @MonicaGoldberg
- “This flag was carried by the white supremacists in Charlottesville and has a meaning far beyond what you intend. (I hope!) Please do not raise this in a public building,” – @katiestauss
- “This picture is a perfect example of why I am afraid to call the police in an emergency because I’m afraid you’ll hurt black people in my neighborhood. I have no idea what you think you’re doing, but what you’re actually doing is intimidating residents. stop it.” – @mbsocol
But on Friday, Nov.1, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich said that the flag won’t be displayed because it is alarming to some, WBFF reported.
Elrich said both he and acting Police Chief Marcus Jones “understand the concerns of the community.”
“The flag provides a symbol of support to some but it is a symbol of dismissiveness to others,” Elrich said. “Because it is divisive, the flag will not be posted at the 5th District nor in any public space within the Police Department.”
He concluded by saying, “Under my administration, we are committed to improving police relations with the community and will immediately address any action that stands against our mission.”