Controversial ‘Thin Blue Line’ flag for Capitola City Hall rejected

Capitol – City leaders at the Capitol voted unanimously Thursday to deny a community request to fly the “thin blue line” flag on city property during National Police Week in May.

Before the vote, council member Kristen Peterson said that, if the main goal of the flag-hoisting request was to provide visible public support of city officials, better alternatives existed.

“Since it is inappropriately aligned with groups and causes that seek to divide and isolate our community, I find it hard to believe that flag-flying would encourage others to join us in supporting the police. Will be encouraged to get involved as much as it will cause them to withdraw further from such support,” Peterson said. “Ultimately, I think displaying this particular flag makes our police department’s job harder. Will go and won’t be easy.”

Capitola City Council voted Thursday to deny a community request to fly a “thin blue line” flag on city property. (Ariel Berger – Santa Cruz Sentinel File)

Resident TJ Welch applied for such permission in February, using a city policy allowing public requests to fly special flags at City Hall. On Thursday, Welch said during the meeting, the flag request was “supporting the police” and “it was never a political issue and unfortunately the city manager’s office made it that way.” He said that activist groups who do not like the police are trying to defame the police.

“We are in unprecedented times with respect to the unprovoked killing of police officers killed in the line of duty,” Welch wrote partially in her flag request application. “The City of Capitola has an opportunity to demonstrate our support for our police officers who protect our community by adopting the law enforcement flag as part of the non-official flag policy and by flying that flag each year during National Police Week. Ready every day. In May.”

Capitola resident Thierry Ritchie called a meeting to protest the hoisting of the thin blue line flag. He cited the designation of racism as a public health crisis in Santa Cruz County and pointed to the distortion of Black Lives Matter street art in the city of Santa Cruz. Ritchie said he thought he was profiled by Capitola police, who stopped him after a light-skinned Hispanic man reported burglary at a city car wash.

“So, I think incidents like this and other incidents that I have heard of a black male around Santa Cruz County with other black residents, when it concerns the police, are also deeply concerning,” said Richie. he said. “Because of course a lot of people, black individuals who come around Santa Cruz County, this deeply systemic way of coming through Capitola or Capitola because of hyper police presence and hyper tension to deal with policing, especially Capitola PD. Fear. .”

The “thin blue line” flag is usually a black-and-white representation of an American flag, with a horizontal blue line running down the center. The modern version of the flag, which was designed in 2014 by Thin Blue Line, USA, interprets the black space above the blue line as representing society, order and peace, according to a capital city, which may not include crime, anarchy And there is mention of anarchy. Council City Staff report by City Clerk Chloe Woodmansee and City Attorney Samantha Zutler. The blue line is said to represent law enforcement, which according to the report “prevents crime from spreading through society”.

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