Pro-law enforcement flag sparks controversy in Paso Robles

May 7, 2021

Ty Lewis

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

A pro-law enforcement “thin blue line” flag placed outside the Paso Robles Public Safety Center last weekend sparked controversy in the North County city, leading to the police chief ordering the flag be taken down.

Community members attached the flag to a light post near the coroner of 10th and Park streets, Paso Robles Police Chief Ty Lewis stated in a Facebook post. Likewise in display of support for police, community members attached American flags, blue ribbons and other decorations to gates, light poles and public property surrounding the Public Safety Center.

Shortly afterwards, the city received a complaint about the flag from a resident. The individual stated the flag was controversial and divisive and requested it be removed.

In attempt to avoid controversy and preserve public trust, Lewis ordered the thin blue line flag be removed from the light pole, he said.

“I am aware that the symbolism of thin blue line flags is viewed differently by many,” Lewis stated in the police department Facebook post. “Some view it as a symbol of law enforcement support, while others view it as a racist and divisive symbol. I leave it to each community member to research this controversial topic and form their own opinions.”

After police removed the flag, a rumor swirled on social media that a community member had stolen it. The rumor is not true, the police chief said.

“I am solely responsible for the removal of the flag,” Lewis wrote. “Further, there have been many unproductive and negative conversations on social media about this community member that included veiled threats. I humbly request these unproductive accusations and threats stop immediately.”

Such conversations do no promote community trust and have created a distraction for the police department, the chief added.

The police department’s Facebook post containing the message from Lewis has received nearly 1,000 comments in less than 24 hours, with many commenters criticizing the chief for removing a flag display intended to show support for law enforcement. Some commenters thanked Lewis.


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Petrobaron

Huh; seems to me PR needs a new police chief. Maybe one that doesn’t bow to every passing breeze…


kevin rise

Nope, he did his job and followed the law, maybe look into it, thanks!


Messkit

What “law” do you refer? You mentioned before. the US Flag Code. The “Thin Blue Line” flag does not, in any way, fall under the guidelines in the flag code.


It is NOT a federally recognized national emblem, as it uses colors that are not standard. Therefore, it is fully legal for any entity to display at any time, the same as the rainbow flag, POW/MIA flag, flags of the various branches of US Armed Forces, CSA ensign, religious flags, and the many flags of nations around the world.


aye-caramba

Seriously, trying to avoid controversy, thus creating controversy. Chief, this was unnecessary really. You have made the tiny number of “woke” miscreants less unhappy ( they are just miserable all the time), but raised the ire of those who truly stand with law enforcement. Bad judgement call sir.


kevin rise

Nope, the majority of this nation disagree with you.


pigsrule

Wow! What ignorance! The only people that believe the thin blue line is bad are terrorist groups like BLM and antifa. If you understand the policing problem in urban centers, the people that live there want more cops not less. So now, with that said, what or who in the world is this police chief trying to appease? Looks like he’s not the man for the job if he doesn’t back his own.


FoxtrotYankee

Mis-coloring the flag is not only disrespectful to the USA but is also a violation of Flag Code. The chief of Paso PD is doing the right thing. A disrespectful and divisive flag does nothing for the community.


If you want to support the police, support laws that hold bad actors accountable. That way good police won’t have to be lumped in and associated with the bad.


The idea that a questionable no-knock warrant could lead to me being shot by law enforcement in my bed, while trying to defend my home — and that is perfectly legal — is a slap in the face to any law abiding citizen who supports the right-to-bear for self-defense.


Don’t give the state more power than the people it is elected to protect. Don’t blindly support a system that executes law-abiding citizens accidentally.


Yes, there are plenty of good cops out there — you can support them AND call out injustice at the same time. Everything doesn’t have to be black or white.


Messkit

It is not discolored. It is its own flag.


The US Flag Code states that ACTUAL national emblems must not be altered or “mis-colored”, written upon, used as clothing, or displayed in a disrespectful manner.


Yes, there are “flag” bunting, signs, clothes, hats, and painted walls. Those are all legal, as they are NOT made FROM an actual national emblem.


The “Blue Line” flag is hardly divisive, and only to those who are predisposed to being offended.


commonsenseguy

So if standard for removing a flag is based on being divisive, controversial, or offensive, I say the gay pride flag, the black lives matter flag, Biden/Harris flag be removed as well. What’s good for the goose, is good for the gander. Fair is fair.


kevin rise

Oh boy, here we go. Go read the laws about flags, please, before responding further. the blue lives flag is racist. Get that crap out of my town.


commonsenseguy

Wait a minute, Chief Lewis’ reason for removing was to “avoid controversy and preserve public trust”. There was NO reference to it being illegal in his or the city’s statement. Why is it racist, because you and others that don’t support what it symbolizes say so? Again, using your logic, then blm flag is racist. Your woke standard, not mine.


chocolate_addict

The problen you have us that your liberal courts have overruled the flag code. You can burn the flag as protest, desecrate it as art, disrespect it by kneeling at the national anthem so it is you guys who have rendedered all sorts of laws, regulations and codes as moot so you cannot come back now and say we got to respect the flag. That’s not gonna fly so to speak.


kayaknut

I suppose as long at the policy applies to all flags and banners, basically anything other than the USA flag, no exceptions it is fine. Only time will tell if this is the case.


Messkit

How many people live in Paso, that now must cater to the ONE person who “complained” about something that is obviously supported by many many more?


Is this a Police Chief, or an easily mislead apologist?


kevin rise

More like half the population doesnt want that stupid racist flag and it’s illegal regardless.


Messkit

What about the other “half” that doesn’t want the purely racist BLM flag?


Illegal? You really need to read the US Flag Code a wee bit more carefully.


FoxtrotYankee

Where did BLM mis-appropriate the American flag?


Messkit

Right between stomping on it, and burning it.


Guess what happens when you stomp on, or burn, a rainbow flag…


chocolate_addict

The BLM looted, rioted, destroyed businesses and not only have they symbolically desecrated the flag, they have actually stomped on the constitution and our whole system of law and morality. Two wrongs do not make a right so even if they are correct about their grievances they do not have the right to take the law into their own hands, block streets and take away the rights of others. Ends do not justify the means.


kevin rise

I love how civil rights is a bad thing in the eyes of racist, over privileged folks. They’ll never get it, luckily, an old dieng breed of hate with scripture left for the text books to teach our kids what hate is.


kevin rise

BLM isnt a desecrated flag, sorry bud, or boomer. If you dont see History, then dont comment ever. It was taken down With Care. Lord. Paso, soon will be gentrified with rich democratic socialists sadly.


Scarlet

That was the right thing to do. I’m betting those complaining about this flag being taken down are the same folks who complained about Kaepernick disrespecting the flag when he took a knee. As a matter of actual FACT, the flag code is federal law and it says: “The flag should never have placed on it, or attached to it, any mark, insignia, letter, word, number, figure, or drawing of any kind.”


Messkit

Since the colors are NOT representative of the national emblem, and the “blue line” flag is NOT recognized as the national emblem, the US flag code does not apply.


But thank you for playing.


And yes, we do find Kaepernick to be a lousy football player.


kevin rise

That racist flag is ILLEGAL for any little law enforcement to wear. Sorry!


Messkit

Please, quote us all that state or federal regulation that pertains to wearing a symbol of support for law enforcement personnel.


We’ll wait.


Oh….the US Flag Code isn’t your answer.


Scarlet

So all you thumbs down people don’t believe you should be held to the Flag Code, I take it. So who is disrespecting the flag now?


commonsenseguy

It’s okay for others to have a different opinion and share it. The last time I checked we still have the freedom of speech and to respectfully disagree. That flag represents all of these American citizens who opposed it’s removal. Not just your view on it. They have the right to vote you down and disagree with your stance on it.


Every man and woman who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms, which includes freedom of speech, and the debating of issues are rolling over in the graves. I suspect if they could, they would take issue with your desire to be selective in what freedoms you want to allow others, while demanding all of yours. Slippery slope Scarlet.


Buchon

It’s not “federal law.”


mazin

Good information, thank you.

Flag modifications and commercializations, are a form of desecration. Many are tacky, disrespectful, in poor taste, with most just plain ugly. We have a beautiful flag, just as it is.

IMHO, causes should find another symbol.

Remember what Dr. Johnson said in 1775, “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.” Excessive patriotism is not to be trusted. Those sponsoring massive flag displays often have an agenda.


Messkit

Also remember, that Sam Johnson was talking about FALSE patriotism. Those who would claim to be a patriot, while usurping all that is good with the country.


Nothing wrong with excessive patriotism. Plenty wrong when anti-police, anti-law, and anti-government people claim to be patriots, while proving exactly the opposite.


FoxtrotYankee

Those who would claim to be a patriot, while usurping all that is good with the country.


The insurrectionists of Jan 6th for example.


derasmus

Nope, not an insurrection, just a bunch of stupid rioters.

Stop the hyperbole and left-wing divisiveness.


commonsenseguy

You just describe the reigning Democrat Party.


mazin

Who determines what false patriotism is? Our two sides, red and blue, seem to hate one another more than they love their country. Each striving for political advantage and the $ that power brings.

Approach those standing in front of obsessive flag displays with suspicion. A lot of our political campaigning hype are cons by phonies and grifters.


Cmonnow

Oh my god the sky is falling…. What will we complain about next…? Your dog is too ugly? Your hair style represents apathy? Man get a life… What will these people do in a real crisis…when the narcissists in DC and Sac are hiding? Seriously…


George Garrigues

Dear Mr. or Ms. Cmonnow: Thanks for your comment, but you are making light of a very serious matter; that is, the transgressions of folks who wear a uniform and have access to weapons and to handcuffs. Think about it. Best wishes anyway to you.


Jon Tatro

George how about your transgressions, dont forget your record is public information.


MrYan

……spoken like a true cop. A mild threat of escalation because you don’t like what you hear or read.


I thought the Right loathed Cancel Culture. Yet here you are.


kevin rise

Its illegal to have insignias etc that aren’t relative to the job; ie, propoganda and is a crime to do so, and I encourage everyone to complain and expect our cops to be NUETRAL as it’s their damn job. We need more people to Audit our local PD, as they commit crimes, like Rape, up here in Paso where any idiot can be a cop with 6 months academy and no Associates Degree like Atascadero, where they give slightly more of a sh*t.


derasmus

Hey George, consider this:


10,000,000 arrests last year by all LEO in the US. Out of that, 1004 officer involved shootings that led to fatalities. Out of that number 41 were unarmed. Of those 41 unarmed, 19 were white and 9 were black.


Now, don’t get me wrong, one fatality is too many. But given the numbers (from the FBI), that’s only around .00041 percent.


Now ask how many officers were shot and killed in the same period. Ready? 89 killed in the line of duty.


Now compare that to a recent 48 hour period in Chicago. 82 shot and 19 died, the vast majority of which were black youth.


But where is the outrage? Where are the wokonistas? The media, politicians, especially progressive left wingers. Where is ANTIFA and BLM on this inconvenient truth.


Being a LEO in the US can be a tough, thankless, and at times dangerous job, especially in the big urban centers. But in the end 99.99 percent of them are trying to do the right thing and just go home to their family.