Community rallies outside Solon City Hall following ‘Thin Blue Line’ flag controversy
SOLON, Ohio (WOIO) - Dozens of people rallied Saturday afternoon outside Solon City Hall following a “Thin Blue Line” flag controversy that riled the community.
They marched on Saturday from city hall to the Solon Police Department. They carried thin blue line flags and signs saying they stand united with Solon Police.
The rally comes in the wake of a Thin Blue Line flag being removed from police property earlier this week. However, a Thin Blue Line flag is once again waving in the wind at the Solon Police Department.
The mayor of Solon ordered a thin blue line flag removed on July 13th. That sparked a major outcry from the community. So, on Friday, the Mayor had it replaced with the original version of the thin blue line flag, with a plain black background.
“We’re not doing this to protest the city today. We’re doing this just to show support for law enforcement in every city,” said Eric Downing who organized Saturday’s “back the blue” rally. “The officers in law enforcement, in general, use this as a unifying symbol alongside themselves. More can be low in this political environment they need all the help they can get.”
Mayor Ed Kraus originally had the American Flag version of the thin blue line flag taken down because he was concerned the design has been politicized by groups who do not share the best interests of law enforcement, and in this political climate, he feels it has taken on negative connotations by some.
But those in opposition contend they are uncomfortable because the thin blue line flag has at times been carried next to the Confederate flag during white nationalist rallies.
However, retired police lieutenant Tony Longino-Thomas who was the first Black officer in Solon says to him the issue is not political and not black or white. It’s about remembering those who gave their lives protecting others, he said.
“We need to get it and work together. It’s not Black and white it’s blue,” Longino-Thomas. “It’s blue because everybody needs police officers at the end of the day.”
Mentor business owner Scott Graham says his support of law enforcement will not waiver, even in today’s contentious climate.
“The selfless acts law enforcement departments provide every single day is important and I’m proud to stand here and support them,” he said.
An original Thin Blue Line flag now flies in place of the altered American Flag Thin Blue Line flag that was taken down on Tuesday.
The rally’s future was questioned after the new flag was raised Friday, but organizer Eric Downing said several people still wanted show their support.
The rally began at 1 p.m. Watch our coverage in the video player below.
This story will be updated.
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