Social media users were outraged after an Oregon sheriff ordered a law enforcement memorial flag to be removed from a courthouse’s breakroom on Tuesday.
The flag, known as the “Thin Blue Line Flag,” was removed by Sheriff Michael Reese of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, according to KGW.com. Reese said he removed the flag from the Multnomah County Courthouse’s breakroom because it was considered offensive.
The Oregon Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 posted a picture of the flag on Facebook and a status that said: “Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese recently ordered that this Law Enforcement Memorial Flag be taken down from an employee breakroom because it was offensive. The Sheriff’s actions have since sparked outrage, with many finding his conduct offensive.”
The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office responded to the post with an explanation about why the flag was taken down.
“The US National Flag Code guides our display, and forbids alteration, of our Flag. While we always honor our fallen law enforcement officers, it’s important that we do so in County facilities in a manner that doesn’t violate any established protocols. Sheriff Mike Reese strongly supports our law enforcement officers and has spoken publicly of their courage, integrity, and commitment to service,” the post said.
Some social media users posted pictures of cops wearing pins with the flag.
Oregon Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 responded back: “Breaking News: Not all Sheriff’s agree with the opinion of the Multnomah County Sheriff.” The post included a picture of Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee County wearing a pin of the flag.
Reese took to Facebook on Wednesday and explained his decision.
“For some (the flag) is a symbol honoring fallen law enforcement officers. For others, the flag is seen as a sign of disrespect toward communities of color,” Reese said.
“As public safety officers, we have a tremendous responsibility to the communities we serve and to each other. I support honoring our fallen officers in a way that respects the sacrifice they made and the communities they served,” Reese continued.
Reese said the issue of the flag was brought up to him by members of the community who “raised concerns” that prompted him to ask for it to be taken down.
Reese said he had a meeting with staff on Wednesday, asking them “to work with me to resolve these issues by determining how and where to display the flag in a manner that will honor fallen law enforcement officers and also meet the expectations of our community.”