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Police are in the business of coming to the aid of citizens under fire. But lately Sartell residents have been coming to the assistance of their local police department under attack by a leftist activist for displaying the pro-police Thin Blue Line flag in a decal on squad cars.
A sample of the reasons for supporting the police department reveals the intensity stirred up in the central Minnesota community since the issue surfaced in March.
I am signing because of this cancel culture is getting out of hand. Our Sartell officers are some of the best in MN. Many of them I call friends. Leave the decals alone. (Nadine Kantor)
The “thin blue line” is a term that typically refers to the concept of the police as the line which keeps society from descending into violent chaos. (DeAnn Heinan)
Some social justic warrior dope needs a lifand should be focusing on other things. (Eric Weidenheimer)
I support law enforcement in Sartell and throughout Minnesota. This is a platform without a cause. (Julie Baker)
The attempt to create a controversy over the flag decals started with an online petition demanding their removal by 22-year old Hannah Kosloski, a self-described “fat, genderqueer, loud and proud community member from Sartell, MN.” In her petition Kosloski, who’s white, claims to speak for minority groups in calling the department “disrespectful and offensive” for displaying the flag decals.
Although it is not the intent of the Sartell PD, flying and adorning the thin blue line flag directly isolates our community members of color and makes a mockery of the Black Lives Matter movement. The flag no longer just means solidarity and sacrifice. It is now used as a tool of oppression and hatred by pro-policing groups like “Blue Lives Matter” in response to calls of racial injustice, police brutality, and systemic racism towards Black people in our communities.
But supporters of the police department’s usage of the flag decals quickly launched a counter-campaign. Their mission statement was to the point.
Some moron decided to start a petition to force the Sartell police department to remove their thin blue line decals off the squad cars. This petition is to counter act that.
Sartell Mayor Ryan Fitzhum and other officials have kept a low profile on the issue. But the Star Tribune obtained an email Fitzhum sent privately to Kosloski responding to her concerns.
Fitzthum declined to comment on the decals, but in an e-mail response to Kosloski reviewed by the Star Tribune, Fitzthum said he respected Kosloski’s perspective but said the decal “truly represents the courage and sacrifice that our officers display day in and day out while keeping our community safe.”
Fitzthum wrote that the phrase “Thin Blue Line” is used on the MN State Law Enforcement Memorial on the State Capitol grounds, as well as on Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial Association license plates.
“We firmly believe we can support one thing without being in opposition or against another,” Fitzthum wrote. “We continue to simultaneously stand against police brutality, for [Black] lives (and all lives), and for the courage and sacrifice of law enforcement.”
Despite media exposure that often leads to a bigger platform for activists, the issue over whether the Thin Blue Line flag decals should be displayed on squad cars hasn’t really taken off. Except online where the petition in favor of the police displaying the decals has double the number of signatories (1,276) as the number of those (575) on the petition opposing cops showing the flag.
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