Critics Outraged Cop Wore Thin Blue Line Flag Shirt At Civil Rights Memorial

Burlington Police Lieutenant Justin Couture said he wore the shirt to raise awareness about officers' mental health.

Montgomery, AL – The Burlington Police Department (BPD) is facing backlash for posting a photo that showed one of department’s lieutenants wearing a Thin Blue Line Flag shirt.

The photo was taken while Burlington Police Lieutenant Justin Couture and eight other BPD employees were visiting The Legacy Museum and other Civil Rights Movement exhibits in Montgomery, BPD said in a Facebook post on June 26.

The department-sponsored trip was part of the agency’s implicit bias training, which is managed and overseen by Lt. Couture, Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo told Seven Days.

One of the photos the BPD posted of the trip showed Lt. Couture wearing a Thin Blue Line flag shirt, which he received from the Vermont Center for Responder Wellness, the department said.

The wellness center is a treatment center that assists first responders with traumas they have suffered in the line of duty, Seven Days reported.

Chief del Pozo said that Lt. Couture wore the shirt to raise public awareness about law enforcement officers’ mental health struggles.

Lt. Couture recently lost two friends – both of whom were New York Police Department officers – to suicide, the chief added.

The Thin Blue Line flag, which is a sign of support for active-duty police officers and a symbol of honor for fallen officers, has been frequently mislabeled by Black Lives Matter activists.

They claim that the flag is a response to the Black Lives Matter movement, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

The Thin Blue Line flag was created long before Black Lives Matter ever existed.

In fact, the term “thin blue line” has been popular with law enforcement officers since the 1950s.

Chief del Pozo said that the image is a symbol that law enforcement officers “can identify with,” Seven Days reported.

But shortly after the photo was posted, critics slammed the lieutenant for wearing a pro-police shirt to exhibits that focus on civil rights issues.

“This is startlingly poor taste at best, and intentional harm to the people at that memorial — and people seeing this post — at worst,” one commenter posted.

“The shirt shows me they didn’t go to learn,” another wrote. “The post shows they didn’t learn.”

Another commenter declared that Lt. Couture should issue a public apology for wearing the shirt.

“This is incredibly inappropriate on so many levels. And the photo feels purposeful,” she wrote. “Even if this is pure ignorance, this is racism, privilege, and power at its core. BPD needs an entire change. I request this officer apologize publicly.”

Rutland Area National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) President Tabitha Moore said that the image was a “face-palm moment” that offended many people who viewed it, and she scoffed at how the department handled the backlash.

“It’s that sort of behavior that makes it really difficult for people in marginalized communities to feel like people in positions of power, in this case law enforcement, are really understanding how what they do, even in moments like this, can have a profound effect,” Moore told Seven Days.

Lt. Couture said that he had no intention of offending people by wearing his Thin Blue Line shirt.

“I realize not everyone sees the thin blue line symbol that way, and the museum and memorial are reminders of that fact,” he told Seven Days.

But Moore said that Chief del Pozo needs to make sure something like this never happens again.

“What is [del Pozo] going to do differently in the future to make sure people who go there…don’t step into things like this?” she asked. “And if they do, how do they respond? [Hopefully] with curiosity, compassion, understanding rather than defensiveness…I hope that he really takes it to heart.”

Joseph Murphy, a retired police officer who now runs patriotic apparel company Warrior 12, incorporates the flag in many of the company's shirt designs. (DISCLOSURE: Warrior 12 produces official Blue Lives Matter shirts and gear and the proceeds support Blue Lives Matter. )

Warrior 12 just launched a Betsy Ross version of the thin blue line flag in response to the Nike controversy surrounding the flag.

Warrior 12's Thin Blue Line Betsy Ross Flag

Warrior 12's Stand For Something shirt

Murphy told Blue Lives Matter that he suspects that the people upset about Lt. Couture's shirt are upset for the same reason that Colin Kaepernick declared the Betsy Ross flag was offensive.

"There's nothing racist about this flag," Murphy explained to Blue Lives Matter. "The problem is that racial identitarians like Kaepernick tend to see everything through the lens of racism."

"The Thin Blue Line represents brave law enforcement officers from all backgrounds; just as the Betsy Ross flag represents that all men were created equal. But equality will always be offensive to people who want to be perpetual victims," Murphy concluded. "We won't ever back down to this madness."

Comments (59)
No. 1-35
Conwol
Conwol

He shouldn't have to explain to any damn person, questioning what he wears . He has every right to wear that shirt, and to the assholes who complained, stuff a sock up your ass.

61mouse
61mouse

And I object to snowflakes wearing Cigna hats .

BlueLM101
BlueLM101

"The Thin Blue Line flag, which is a sign of support for active-duty police officers and a symbol of honor for fallen officers, has been frequently mislabeled by Black Lives Matter activists.

They claim that the flag is a response to the Black Lives Matter movement, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

The Thin Blue Line flag was created long before Black Lives Matter ever existed."

This would have been my response.

Bonneville Kid
Bonneville Kid

The "critics" can kiss my ass.

oldbat
oldbat

all the critics can go to hell

joey d
joey d

God Bless all law enforcement,,F all the haters

Gridiron
Gridiron

Critics need to over it

Lochemet
Lochemet

"...critics slammed the lieutenant for wearing a pro-police shirt to exhibits that focus on civil rights issues." From my perspective it seems that those who focus on civil rights issues are anti-Police, anti-establishment, and even anti-American. What are civil rights issues anyway? It's how the BLM's want to define it. Police are not against civil rights, but they are against the riots at civil rights protests and against the law breakers that show up at the protests. Police are FOR the community, FOR law and order, FOR their brothers in blue. The only racists here are the BLM's who see everything through their grid of racism and their grid of victim-hood. They are always on the defensive against the Police and everyone else. You can never win with them because it's THEY who do not want to learn. They just want to protest and accuse everyone of being racist in order to have control over the community. Lieutenant, wear the shirt and wear it proudly. There's nothing to apologize for here. We have nothing to defend ourselves against. We are identifying with our brothers in blue who need our support and encouragement and help, and that's what that shirt conveys.

JBo
JBo

If Black Lives Mattered, their first stop would be in Chicago where black on black murders happen so often it's hard to keep track of who's still alive.

Unhappy with police? Move to a country that doesn't have functional policing, like Somalia.

DNW
DNW

Yes, identitarian politics is officially out-of-control. What 'face-palm worthy' arrogance. We support Blue Lives.

LEO0301
LEO0301

These complainers need to shut the F-up! I may make a special trip to this memorial wearing Thin Blue Line shirt, pants, socks, and a MAGA hat! I may even carry a blue lives matter flag if I can find one. Friggen snowflakes that are more concerned about someone wearing a shirt that offends hardly anyone than being upset over the thousands of blacks that die each year from black on black crime. IDIOTS!

BobIn704
BobIn704

Once again, as my parents would say, you could pave the streets in GOLD and people would still find fault. NOBODY has to explain anything to anybody for what they wear. They forget this is the USA and if you do not like the rules, then step aside or better yet leave. People always love to read into something more than what it means, just to get their useless 15 seconds of fame. Nobody is going to apologize for anything, so step aside before we move you aside!

Anomie88
Anomie88

Why do they always apologize? There is no need to apologize for doing nothing wrong. Pretty simple.

Phillik
Phillik

I proudly wear my Thin Blue Line apparel, my NRA baseball hat, and carry my “Thin Blue Line” Yeti Tumbler everywhere I go. I am happy to have an educational discussion with anyone that wishes to challenge me on wearing this apparel. It is meant as a sign of respect and support for my law enforcement brothers and sisters, and anyone who doesn’t understand that is welcome to an education. If they don’t agree with it, they can either get over it, or walk the other way. Karl Phillipps

PapaSmuf73
PapaSmuf73

There is nothing racist about that T-shirt and anyone that finds it offensive needs to get over it. The shirt is a symbol of respect,which many lack these days for police officers, and the thin blue line has been around longer. It is time that more officers start standing up to these ridiculous fools that have nothing better to do but complain about those that serve and protect their communities everyday and some that pay the ultimate price for freedom.

Szrudy3
Szrudy3

Getting sick of this crap Would they be ok with someone wearing a BLM T-Shirt

Wish505
Wish505

The critics are the ones that need to back up and take a closer look at there own racial hate syndromes. The Lt. has every right to wear what ever he chooses to wear and those of weak minds should better prepare themselves for the truths that many of us hold so evident.

Jones24
Jones24

To flipping bad. Wear what you want it’s your right! Isn’t that what everyone else does? Why should you be exempt because you are a police officer?

LostAllSanity
LostAllSanity

I'm offended by a lot of other t-shirts and signs, but they have a right to be heard. Sadly, the radicalized, violent, uneducated, (often) criminals and drug dealers seem to be the voice of the poorest communities. (Blame that on the courts that continue to put them back into society.) They are looking for every opportunity to claim excessive force and ask for money (isn't it amazing how money soothes their frail nerves and values). Instead of risking Officer's lives, perhaps every time they kill someone, Risk Management for the LE Agency should just show up, give them $10K and leave them in the community. Soon enough, we can recover that community, build some nice homes for respectable people of all color and ethnicity.

VicG
VicG

Screw 'em all, Stand Tall...

ChasingYesterday
ChasingYesterday

This is ridiculous. I'm sure some of the loudest ones complaining own a Che Guevara shirt...and wear it proudly. Idiots.

RetAFVet
RetAFVet

I see nothing wrong with it...just as I see nothing wrong with wearing an NWA's "F*uck the police" t-shirt or police pig socks. Same difference. Stop being such snowflakes.

IseeWhereThisIsGoing
IseeWhereThisIsGoing

He should apologize. He should apologize that the snowflakes get offended by everything. He should apologize that they don't know anything about the history of law enforcement, or the thin blue line. He should apologize that the domestic terrorist group known as black lives matter has worked hard to divide this nation, and often results in unfair demands for criminal to not be held responsible for their actions.

The Chief should apologize too: This apology should require him to purchase thin blue line shirts for all his staff, and them to make public apologies at the memorial for the people who were offended, and who are ignorant to the meaning of both the thin blue line and blue lives matter.

Thinblueline
Thinblueline

What, someone was “triggered” by a shirt? Hahahahaha, silly snowflakes.

goodgentnsc
goodgentnsc

I've got a idea before they go there again make sure they call the local leader of the most racist organization there is the naacp so they can send someone down to the department to make sure they approve of what these officers are wearing lol and if this Lt. apologize he's as bad as someone that throws there men under the bus so they can gain political points!!

RetAFVet
RetAFVet

@IseeWhereThisIsGoing You forgot to say he should apologize for the other MOST notorious domestic terrorist the white supremest, neo nazi, alt right groups that have committed the most terrorist acts in America. More than Isis. That would also be a great added response.

Old Hawg
Old Hawg

"The problem is that racial identitarians like Kaepernick tend to see everything through the lens of racism." And what exactly is a "racial identarian"? By definition, it's a racist.

MajScallywag
MajScallywag

Did the police protect the civil rights people or was that the neighborhood drug dealers who protected them?

HAWAIIBLUE
HAWAIIBLUE

who gives a flying fuck what this man wore and where he wore it. I bet whomever took this picture was too chickenshit to say anything to any of these officers. Same as on the job. Smile to our faces and as soon as our backs are turned and far enough out of earshot, then and only then you start talking your shit. Why no front photo? Because you were too chicken shit to do it in front of him? Any police officer can wear a thin blue line shirt, hat, or whatever any where we fucking feel like, just as any veteran can wear an operation Iraqi freedom shirt or whatever conflict they were in, and any person who wants to wear A shirt with an American flag on it. Don’t fucking tell me or anyone else in this free nation what the fuck to wear, and where not to wear it. Until you’ve walked in our shoes, shut the fuck up.

BerettaAPX
BerettaAPX

All these anti police anti American stories just make me go and support my local gun store all the more.

Rascal1966
Rascal1966

F**KING LIBERAL SNOWFLAKES!!! GET A DAMN LIFE!! WE ARE SICK OF YOU!!!

Pat1978
Pat1978

They are crybullies, plain and simple. Victocrats will always claim they are oppressed while attempting to micromanage every detail of someone else's life.

Jhn
Jhn

I think I’m going to see this exhibit while wearing my MAGA hat with my Back the blue visor clip and wearing my I stand for the Flag and kneel for the cross shirt. Might as well offend them all at one time

TWalters
TWalters

This museum looks like an amazing educational experience. It’s horrible you can’t visit and support law Enforcement.

Wickedsharp
Wickedsharp

The fact that showing any support for our Police is 'distasteful' proves we are in a tragic point in our nation's history. Almost as tragic as the very memorial he was visiting