Controversy over blue line flag honoring slain SLO police officer

May 25, 2021


Following the murder of 37-year-old detective Luca Benedetti, who was shot and killed while serving a warrant, the San Luis Obispo Police Department memorialized the officer by hanging two blue line flags in front of headquarters.

Throughout San Luis Obispo, people tied blue ribbons on trees and attached blue line flags to their vehicles in support of the officer’s family and law enforcement, actions that Cal Poly music professor Scott Glysson deemed racist.

“The flag with the blue line is not a sign of community support for police,” Glysson posted on Facebook. “It is a racist symbol. It was popularized at the same time and in direct response to the Black Lives Matter movement.”

At the center of the conflict is the blue line flag, to some a sign of support for law enforcement and to others a symbol of hate.

The issue arose after some BLM protesters, who marched in opposition to racism in policing, labeled all officers as racist based on their profession. Law enforcement supporters countered the protesters by tying blue ribbons on trees and waving blue line flags.

The discourse over the flag’s meaning has played out across the county following a series of protests in which BLM supporters repeatedly stopped traffic and yelled at people dining in restaurants.

Earlier this month, a thin blue line flag placed outside the Paso Robles Public Safety Center sparked controversy in the North County city, leading to the police chief ordering the flag be taken down.

Supporters of the blue line flag, like the Flags of Valor group, say it has long been used to support law enforcement.

“The phrase, ‘thin blue line,’ was initially mentioned in a 1911 poem by Nels Dickmann Anderson,” according to Flags of Valor. “In the 1950s, the blue line was adopted by law enforcement professionals to represent their courage and sacrifice while protecting the American people.”

Glysson, on the other side of the debate, believes the flag is a destructive symbol that disparages people of color.

“I can’t even imagine what a person of color must feel when they drive by a police station displaying this flag,” Glysson posted on Facebook.”Even if unintended, it tells a person of color their struggle is not important.”

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Cops aren’t racist. They see two types of people — criminals and law-abiding citizens who are potential victims, with the police in the middle.

Without the police, nothing would stop the vast criminal elements in society from preying on the law abiding citizens. That is after all, where all the money is.

And if that happened, the citizens would be forced to protect themselves. This is why the Second Amendment is so important. When the government fails to protect you, you can protect yourself.

“Defund the police” is the most asinine thing anyone has ever advocated in this country.

Without police, this country would devolve into vigilantism and chaos. Or is that the idea these people are really pushing?

F that flag. Government agencies should fly only official flags, and that is all. Anything else is contrary to the rule of law

There is only one americain flag.

This is a shame to appropriate the flag for personnal ideas.

If that rule applied to blm and gay pride flags too, then i would agree.

Some folks put up a blue line flag to honor an officer and this becomes an issue?

On a personal Facebook page, Glysson posts a negative interpretation of the symbol.

OK we should select symbols that unite rather than divide. But shouldn’t we also look at the intention of the display, and the timing when we make remarks?

Then Cal Coast News, and the two sides, gin up divisive nonsense.

Have some respect for each other, be tolerant, and see how different people see symbols from different perspectives. That’s all this is about, a different way to view a symbol.

I agree Mazin.

Unfortunately during the last year, progressive Democrats and the woke left, a group you apparently identify with based on your comments in CCN, have eroded the opportunity to do just that. Yes, it is BLM, and extreme factions of the social justice brigades that have wreaked havoc on our country. From Portland, to Minneapolis to DC, and right here in SLO, the “progressive” left has brought about a huge chasm in our society that may never heal. Just this week these same brigades disrupted the Floyd one year memorial in Minneapolis and rioters tried to burn down government buildings in Portland. There is your “insurrection!”

Law enforcement supporters represented by every demographic and race have not done this.

Your comment displays the “right side” of the equation. No mention of the “left side’s” various complaints: Capitol insurrection; Charlottesville rally; Trump’s incitements; and the actions of extreme accelerators throughout the country. Nor of the police incidents and social inequities that the folks identifying with BLM are upset about.

One side points at the other, while not seeing it’s own faults and violence, then each labels and name calls as needed to defend mindsets and create the enemy. It is a ‘love to hate’ thing.

Was in Portland July 2019, saw first hand the two sides prepping to beat on each other. Proud Boys/Patriots Prayer milieu versus the Antifa/whatever ragtag. I see the same two sides on TV, Fox versus MSNBC. That is why I advocate turning the media feeds OFF.

These patterns are unpatriotic.

If your point is that both sides are to some degree share the blame, I can go with that. In my mind it’s like 85 percent your side (progressive left, including the biased left leaning media), and about 15 percent the right, including the few media components that fall in line (Fox News, etc).

As for the January “insurrection “. You have to be kidding. That’s a word your side uses a lot while ignoring the Molotov cocktails of Portland, yet here are some facts regarding this so called “insurrection:”

The only gunfire, shooting an unarmed and unruly riotous woman and killing her.

No firearms found on ANY of the rioters, none.

All deaths, except for the unarmed woman, WERE NOT, caused by any trauma or injuries sustained by the rioters.

Trump told the crowd (yes, go back and listen to it, I did) to go “peacefully” and make the case for voter fraud, etc.

And what do we have now? The capital is an armed camp only because of Pelosi and Schumer and the Democrats zeal for power and political control and a desire to permanently change the country.

I could go on and on but this argument never ends Mazin and your side won’t budge even inch, so what’s the use, everything bad is Trump’s fault… Yawn….

My only hope for the Republic is that 1994 comes again in 2022.

1) Defending Trump and the Capitol rioters is hopeless.

2) Schumer and the Democrats are worried about being harmed. Can you blame them? Probably should be.

3) My overall point is not to have a “side” but rather think independently choosing for sake of country. The two fanatical extremes are harming the country.

“My only(?) hope for the Republic is that 1994 comes again in 2022.” Respectfully, your burrowed, enamored, in narrow partisan ideological rhetoric. Just read what you write, laced with hyper partisan troupes, like a defense attorney.

BTW don’t have a “side”. Don’t think this “sides” stuff serves the country.

But I KNOW Trump is an incompetent grifter. And yes I KNOW there are similar on the “other side”. Trump is just a new low.