Firefighters refuse order to remove police support flags
HINGHAM, Mass. (AP) — The firefighters’ union in a Boston suburb is refusing their chief’s order to remove Thin Blue Line flags from firetrucks.
Hingham Fire Chief Steve Murphy and police Chief Glenn Olsson say the flags — black and white versions of the U.S. flag with one blue stripe that show support for police — violate the town’s ban on political messages on town property, The Patriot Ledger reported.
The chiefs say someone complained about the flags.
The flags are often seen at Back the Blue and Blue Lives Matter demonstrations, that have developed in response to Black Lives Matter protests that call for defunding police departments.
The flags were originally purchased to show support for police after the 2018 killing of police Sgt. Michael Chesna in nearby Weymouth.
The president of the union, Lt. Chris Melanson, said the flags are not a political statement.
“At this time, the Hingham Firefighters of Local 2398 respectfully request the town reconsider their decision to deem these flags as political statements. Otherwise, we regret to inform you that over the past four days no member of Local 2398 was able to sacrifice his or her moral fortitude in order to remove the flags from the apparatus,” Melanson said in a statement.
©The Associated Press 2020