Corrections Employee Sues County For Allowing Coworker To Display Blue Line Flag
Multnomah County, OR – A correctional employee has filed a $420,000 lawsuit accusing Multnomah County of not fostering a racially-sensitive workplace after her supervisors refused to order a probation officer to take down a Thin Blue Line flag at her request.
Karimah Guion-Pledgure has alleged in her lawsuit that she was retaliated against after she put up an “equity wall” in the office that displayed large pictures of black people killed officer-involved shootings and their associated protests, The Oregonian reported.
Managers told Guion-Pledgure, who has worked for the county’s Department of Community Justice as a corrections technician since 2011, to take down her anti-police shrine.
But her lawsuit said she refused because the Thin Blue Line flag was still installed on her co-worker’s office wall.
Then managers solved the problem by announcing a new rule a week later that prohibited employees from displaying pictures larger than 5x7 inches, The Oregonian reported.
Her lawsuit claimed that she found sticky notes with the words “Thanks a lot” and “B---h” stuck to her so-call equity wall.
Guion-Pledgure’s attorneys told The Oregonian that their client felt unsafe at work because of the hostility she attracted after she complained about the Thin Blue Line flag.
Her suit claimed that Multnomah County had failed to help her develop a “safety plan,” The Oregonian reported.
It was not clear how exactly Guion-Pledgure thought the Thin Blue Line flag was going to harm her.
The lawsuit erroneously referred to the flag as the “Blue Lives Matter” flag and complained that the law enforcement movement has co-opted the Black Lives Matter movement and repurposed it “to shift focus to law enforcement - a chosen profession, not a racial identity - and thus denigrates, dilutes, and demeans the purpose of the Black Lives Matter movement.”
But the flag Guion-Pledgure complained about, which is actually known as a “Thin Blue Line” flag, was created long before Black Lives Matter ever existed. 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,” said Christopher Berg, Editor-in-Chief of Blue Lives Matter.
“It's a common tactic among police abolitionists to use hyperbolic and false information to de-legitimize anything that shows support for law enforcement,” Berg said.
The Thin Blue Line flag has become a tangible target for the anti-police community to protest.
Black Lives Matter Sacramento called on its supporters to steal the police supporter flags and deliver them to their organization in an early January Facebook post.
An Irish bar faced tremendous backlash in Indiana after it responded to one online complaint by removing their Thin Blue Line flag from the restaurant.
Some legislators have even introduced legislation to protect the flying of Thin Blue Line flags from homeowner’s association overreach.