PORTLAND, Ore. — An Oregon courthouse has taken down a flag that began as a way to honor fallen police officers, but has turned into a controversial symbol after white supremacist demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia, used the flag to promote their ideology.
Prior misrepresentations also stained the flag, which is a black-and-white American flag with a blue line across its center.
The flag was removed from a break room in the Multnomah County Courthouse, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported (http://bit.ly/2xz1tCJ ) Thursday.
County Sheriff Mike Reese said a Multnomah County commissioner raised concerns about the flag earlier this week.
“The community concerns raised led me to ask that the flag be removed while we consider whether or not it is appropriate to display any altered United States flag inside a county-owned facility,” Reese said.
The flag’s use by multiple groups has ignited controversy in the past. A Florida woman in March was asked by her homeowners’ association to take down her flag after complaints that it was anti-Black Lives Matter.
In Portland, emergency medic technicians were criticized in March for wearing patches with the Thin Blue Line emblem during protests. Portland Fire & Rescue Chief Mike Myers said it was inappropriate for medics to wear the patch because it suggested they sided with police against protesters.
Police Officer Darryl Turner, president of the Portland Police Association, said neo-Nazis and white supremacists have hijacked the symbol. He’s not involved in the county decision, but spoke in general about the flag.
“It’s a memorial to fallen officers who have given their lives to support and protect diverse and evolving communities,” Turner said. “Anyone who supports (white supremacists’) rhetoric should not be using that flag.”
Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive, http://www.oregonlive.com