Portland, OR – An alarmist criminal defense attorney posted a picture of a Portland police SUV with a Thin Blue Line flag decal in the shape of Oregon on its back window and called it “terrifying.”
“This is unacceptable, @PortlandPolice @tedwheeler @ChiefDOutlaw. Is the person driving this car going to be conducting traffic/pedestrian stops?! Terrifying. Also didn’t the county just settle a $100k lawsuit over this bs? The city is next, I guess... Cc:@PCCEPportland,” Lindsey Burrows tattled on Twitter on Oct. 20.
Controversy about the flag with a blue line through it to represent support for law enforcement has popped up all over the country.
Activists continue to complain about the flag while making false claims that the flag has a nefarious meaning behind it.
The term “thin blue line” has been popular with law enforcement officers since the 1950s.
"Thin Blue Line flags are just flags that express support for law enforcement. They have no direct connection to any Blue Lives Matter organization outside of their original meaning to show support for police,” Blue Lives Matter Editor-in-Chief Christopher Berg explained.
Even media outlets misreport the flag’s meaning.
“It has been incorporated into the Blue Lives Matter initiative that followed the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson in 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri,” The Oregonian reported. “Critics say the symbol and the initiative belittle the Black Lives Matter movement that focuses on police brutality against black people.”
Blue Lives Matter was actually founded in response to the assassination of Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, and not as a direct response to the violent robbery suspect who was killed during his attack on Officer Wilson.
The Thin Blue Line flag also existed long before Black Lives Matter burned Ferguson in protest.
Portland Police Bureau Lieutenant Tina Jones said the police department was aware of the tweet but had not yet identified who placed the sticker on the rear window of the police SUV and if that person was even a police officer.
City policy prohibits “private decals or markings” on city vehicles.
“Our vehicles are shared and at this time it is uncertain when it was placed on the vehicle and by whom," Lt. Jones told The Oregonian.
And police vehicles are also regularly parked unattended in public places so the sticker could have been applied by somebody who wasn’t part of the police bureau.
Lt. Jones wouldn’t say whether the Portland Police Bureau was investigating the presence of the sticker, The Oregonian reported.
She said the sticker was a “minor policy violation” and that any discipline would hinge on whether the person who put it on the police SUV was an officer and if they had previously been sanctioned.
Burrows told The Oregonian in an email that she was alarmed a Portland officer would put such a sticker on their vehicle.
“It concerned me that Portland Police would display this symbol without (or despite?) recognizing that the symbol had been used in opposition to the #blacklivesmatter movement and by white supremacists,” she wrote.
The Thin Blue Line flag has caused consternation in the Portland area in the past, with Multnomah County settling a complaint with a black employee who said that the flag hung in a county building “fostered a racially insensitive workplace,” The Oregonian reported.
Karimah Guion-Pledgure complained that co-workers harassed her after she made the complaint about the flag.
Multnomah County settled with Guion-Pledgure for $100,000 after she set up an anti-police shrine in her officer as retribution.