Police and Law Enforcement

Texas community fights homeowners association over blue ribbons supporting police

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 (Fox 26)

A Texas community, wishing to support local police, is at odds with its homeowners association.

Across the U.S., Americans are using blue ribbons as a sign of support for law enforcement in the wake of numerous recent police-involved shootings. In one Houston-area neighborhood, residents gathered on Thursday afternoon to put those ribbons back up.

After the recent Dallas police shootings, a resident in Cypresswood tied blue ribbons to trees along the road through his neighborhood. Days later, the homeowners association sent an email to the community asking that the resident come forward and take them down.

"I was born and raised in Cypresswood, I've lived here for 23 years," explained Zachary Karrenbrock, organizer of the ribbon tying event. "I'm a firefighter in the area for 7 and a half years and it was an absolute punch in the throat to see that email."

Karrenbrock said he saw an officer cut down every ribbon on Monday. "So I made contact with the Precinct 4 Commissioner's Office yesterday and found out that these medians in Cypress are public."

Karrenbrock put out a call on Facebook and on a radio show that morning to put the ribbons back up. An estimated 150 people showed up. They expected to place nearly 600 ribbons.

FOX 26 senior legal analyst Chris Tritico confirmed medians through subdivisions are public right-of-ways. They wouldn't fall under homeowner association jurisdiction unless specified in the deed restrictions for the subdivision -- a document residents were not able to provide us at the time this story was published.

The Cypresswood Community Association asked in its original email about the blue ribbons that residents, "contact us prior to placing signs or tying ribbons along our right-of-ways and community property areas. The Board needs to make sure such gestures are not political, nor offensive to a particular group."

This is where it gets tricky. Tritico says a homeowners association does not have such a right to regulate the content of a community's public expression or speech. That is protected under the 1st Amendment.

FOX 26 News reached out to the Cypresswood Community Association but no one from the organization was available for comment as of Thursday night.

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