Controversy over blue line flag honoring slain SLO police officer

May 25, 2021

By KAREN VELIE

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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DonDiego

Get off Facebook and all social media!!! It is not real life. Anyone can be a keyboard warrior. Get out of the house, leave the computers at home and interact with your fellow humans! The alternate reality that is social media creates and blows up B.S. fake issues where there are none and people fall for it hook line and sinker.


The blue line flag never physically hurt anyone! Police aren’t the problem, criminals are!


jerwheeler23

Having different opinions is okay – but twisting someone else’s words to turn them into a villain is not. In no way did Glysson say that he was against the police force. In fact, he even states that “it is a good and right thing for the community to voice its support and extend sympathy”. He simply states that it should be done in a way that does not offer symbols that were made in retaliation to a movement that was simply created to show support for black lives. “Blue Lives Matter” gained popularity after people were offended at the Black Lives Matter movement, which began because of the inequality and injustices they face constantly. Black lives have been consistently taken from the world by police brutality, including over 1,000 in the U.S. in the past year. It’s almost ironic that this article was published exactly one year after the murder of George Floyd. There were so many BLM protests that were peaceful, and then disrupted by the violence of the police force with tear gas and rubber bullets. Supporters of blue lives matter encouraged this, in fear of the protesters despite their cordial endeavors in attempt to fight for justice. I had not seen so many blue lines flags until the BLM movement surged after Floyd’s murder. Posting threatening comments bashing Glysson and his words, that were not negatively aimed towards the police force but instead were said to show alliance with the minority, is completely hypocritical. There are so many ways to grieve, but using a flag that was directed to silence the BLM movement should not be one of them. Our system is built off of racism, hence the creation of the BLM movement in the first place. Even San Luis Obispo county has so many groups rooted in racism, so it shouldn’t even be surprising that a biased article like this was written. Nevertheless, I still find myself surprised when seeing this stuff. Being a minority in SLO is hard when people like this find every way to silence them.


FishCambria

“Blue Lives” isn’t a thing. No one’s life is “Blue”. A law enforcement officer can take off their blue at any time, but a Black person can never “take off” their “Black”. That’s why Black Lives Matter TOO – not more than any other life, but not less than any other life either. And for far too long Black lives have not been treated with the respect we should give to all lives.


monicasmith39

This news article is a disgrace to journalism. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but something like this seems to be targeting Scott Glysson. He said nothing wrong and should not be receiving such backlash for what he has said. The “Blues Lives Matter” flag is in direct correlation to the anti-BLM movement and serves to invalidate the feelings of people of color. Police officers are all different races and ethnicities, but they are not a race on their own and should be recognized as law enforcement not “Blue Lives.” The feelings of POC need to be validated and waving this flag around in everyone’s faces is not helping the situation. I am still in awe that some tiny little news site like this would have the audacity to post such a biased and construed article that in turn incites hate towards this Cal Poly Professor.


Revere

Scott Glysson sounds quite hateful and racist. He is one of many unhappy people looking to create more hate. Since he is a music professor, he might think of writing music to help create happiness instead of ugliness. How about composing a tribute to the fallen officer? Glysson is like so many other hateful complainers. These people like to destroy instead of uplift. I would never want him to teach one of my grandchildren. This is our precious country and I honor the police who serve to keep us safe from danger and harm. Keep politics out of the memory of a fallen officer. Mr. Glysson you are pitiful.


paragon

It must be a slow news day when the nonsense that one random idiot spewed on facebook is considered a “controversy” that warrants an entire news article. Who cares? Scott Glysson is a facebook troll and this article says nothing about if anyone else shares his extremist views. It seems like this article was written as clickbait just to get people riled up and generate more views. This is exactly why I pay zero attention to anything on facebook.


kevin rise

I’ve never met a single EMS personnel who IS not a cop, and many Intelligent officers; agree with that Blue Lives and the flag is BS racist propoganda, and I know many EMS, as it’s what i do and have done, talking over 50 people here. They do their job Without Politics, As They’re Paid To Do. Aside from one commenter here who’s a fireman from down south and an outlier who stirs a mean pot of crap locally and flamboyantly and gets paid on my buck.


commonsenseguy

I know many law enforcement and their families, fire fighters, EMT”s, that work in multiple agencies in this county and beyond that would disagree. I have several family members in law enforcement and one who is a EMT in Bakersfield. ALL of them and their families support the flag and those that it honor’s. There is NOTHING racist about this flag. YOUR WRONG. Your comments calls to question, who the REAL RACIST are.


Jon Tatro

The flag stands for support of those officers who protect law and order in their communities and those who are against the flag are for lawlessness and criminality like the terrorist in BLM. It really is as simple as that.


sbjcl

Support the Flag, support Law and Order and support Law Enforcement Officers who risk their lives daily to keep us safe. Who would Glysson call if he where in trouble and needed help? Certainly not the BLM cowards.


Kevin Rice

White professor deciding how “people of color” should feel. What a RACIST twit!