South Bend, IN – A woman who has called to abolish law enforcement complained to an Irish bar about the Thin Blue Line flag they’d hung to support fallen police officers, and the South Bend bar took the flag down and apologized.
Tonna Robinson, who has posted countless anti-police memes on Facebook, and proudly touts her disdain for law enforcement on her two Facebook pages, saw a Thin Blue Line flag hanging in Fiddler’s Hearth, so she posted a message about it on Facebook and tagged the restaurant.
“We’re here, but this flag says we’re not welcome. We won’t be coming back until it’s gone,” Robinson posted with a tag on Fiddler’s Hearth at 10:12 pm on April 30.
Fiddler’s Hearth responded just before 9 am the next morning, and apologized profusely.
“I agree too. The flag is down. Thought it was just a flag honoring fallen officers. Ignorance is no excuse. My sincerest apologies to anyone we've offended,” Fiddler’s Hearth commented on Robinson’s post.
The hostess who answered the phone at Fiddler’s Hearth on Thursday morning told Blue Lives Matter that owner Carol Meehan personally responded to all the Facebook messages about the flag incident.
After the bar began to receive blowback and accolades from different segments of the community, they addressed the matter again on May 4 in a comment on a positive review posted on their Facebook page.
“For years, Fiddler's has had an area of the restaurant dedicated to our first responders and servicemen. The walls are covered with patches and T-shirts from police and fire departments all over the world, but especially in the USA. We have pictures of fallen local police officers hanging on the wall to honor their service. A ‘We Support Our Troops’ flag hangs there. We offer a 25% discount to all military, police, and firefighters. We hung what we thought was a flag honoring fallen officers in the same area,” Fiddler’s Hearth posted.
“When a customer told us it was actually a ‘Blue Lives Matter’ flag, we checked it out and they were correct. While we obviously honor our first responders and all those who put their lives on the line to keep us safe, altering the #blacklivesmatter slogan only serves to further promote social unrest in our country. The flag is down and will stay down. We are looking for a more appropriate flag honoring our police officers to hang in its place,” the bar posted.
But Fiddler’s Hearth didn’t do their homework carefully enough when they “checked it out” after receiving Robinson’s complaint about the Thin Blue Line flag. It turns out that it wasn’t a Blue Lives Matter flag at all.
"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.
Robinson’s social media friends were quick to applaud the apologetic posts from Fiddler’s Hearth, but law enforcement supporters were not happy that an Irish bar, which would traditionally be considered a pro-police establishment, caved so quickly to the demands of somebody who wants to eliminate law enforcement.
Several people pushed back at the incorrect explanation of the flag that Robinson was giving, and that Fiddler’s Hearth was perpetuating.
“Always people trying to cause trouble. Fiddler's Hearth is disgusting. Now they’ve alienated all the cops. It’s fine they don’t support fallen police officers. Don’t expect the living ones to come to your establishment. Also, don’t call them when you need something,” a Facebook user named Pete Mags commented on Robinson’s thread.
“Tonna, cmon, seriously? Are you that desperate to denounce all 900,000 police officers? The thin blue line is a symbol for fallen police officers. It’s been around long before Blue Lives Matters. You’re just making into something it’s not to satisfy your agenda,” he wrote.
“The term ‘thin blue line’ in regards to police began in the 50’s. You can look up the original definition yourself. The flag with a thin blue line only has one meaning and that is to honor the sacrifice of fallen police officers,” Pete Mags posted.
Blue Lives Matter left a message for Carol Meehan at Fiddler’s Hearth, and also reached out to her for comment via email. No response had been received at publication time.