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FOP Ohio fires back at Solon mayor over ‘Thin Blue Line’ flag removal

Published: Jul. 14, 2021 at 6:45 PM EDT
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SOLON, Ohio (WOIO) - The Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio has fired back at the mayor of Solon after he ordered city police to take down a ‘Thin Blue Line’ flag that was flying outside the police department.

Mayor Edward Kraus said he requested the flag be removed after some spoke out and criticized the flag as being a symbol of opposition, saying the flag did not support the racial justice movement.

You can read the Mayor’s full statement at the end of the story.

The National Law Enforcement Memorial flag will instead be displayed on police grounds and is meant to memorialize those who lost their lives and to speak for the support of the police department.

On Wednesday FOP Ohio sent a letter to both Mayor Kraus and Solon Police Chief Richard Tonelli, supporting the “Thin Blue Line” flag and requesting it be flown again at the police department.

Read FOP Ohio’s full statement below.

FOP Ohio letter in response to Solon's removal of the thin blue line flag
FOP Ohio letter in response to Solon's removal of the thin blue line flag(Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio)
FOP Ohio letter after Solon's removal of the thin blue line flag.
FOP Ohio letter after Solon's removal of the thin blue line flag.(Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio)

Eric Downing agrees. He’s organizing a rally in support of displaying the flag.

“The flag is a unifying symbol for them. Their job is hard,” Downing told 19 News.

The rally is set to be held at 1 p.m. Saturday outside Solon City Hall.

Downing also organized a rally last fall in Chardon after a similar controversy.

“You can’t let a few people dictate what you’re going to do when the majority of us don’t want this,” Downing said.

19 News reached out to both the police department and mayor’s office Wednesday for additional comment and our calls have yet to be returned.

In a statement from Chief Tonelli, he said the flag was displayed briefly.

You can read Chief Tonelli’s full statement at the end of the story.

The statement explained that for members of the Solon Police Department the flag represents support for law enforcement and those who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

The statement also detailed how it was never the department’s intention to heighten tensions within the community and create conflict and they are sensitive to the fact that it alienates them from those they are committed to serve and protect.

The Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio has fired back at the mayor of Solon after he ordered city police to take down a ‘Thin Blue Line’ flag that was flying outside the police department.

Mayor Edward Kraus said he requested the flag be removed after some spoke out and criticized the flag as being a symbol of opposition, saying the flag did not support the racial justice movement.

Read the mayor’s full statement below.

A message from Mayor Kraus in regards to taking down the "Thin Blue Line Flag."

Posted by City of Solon Ohio on Tuesday, July 13, 2021

“You can’t let a few people dictate what you’re going to do when the majority of us don’t want this,” Downing said.

19 News reached out to both the police department and mayor’s office Wednesday for additional comment and our calls have yet to be returned.

In a statement from Chief Tonelli, he said the flag was displayed briefly.

The statement explained that for members of the Solon Police Department the flag represents support for law enforcement and those who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

The statement also detailed how it was never the department’s intention to heighten tensions within the community and create conflict and they are sensitive to the fact that it alienates them from those they are committed to serve and protect.

Read the police chief’s full statement below.

Please see the statement from the Chief of Police.

Posted by City of Solon, Ohio Police Department Government on Tuesday, July 13, 2021

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