The Maplewood Police Officers Association (MPOA) said on its Facebook page that its members are “deeply hurt and saddened” that Maplewood Mayor Barry Greenberg and the council may take a position that they don’t necessarily condone references to Blue Lives Matter on the group’s Facebook page.
The Blue Lives Matter flag, with the blue line, is at the top of its Facebook page. At least one resident in the (Zoom) Jan. 12 meeting, objected to the flag.
Greenberg said he found online that the Blue Lives Matter flag can be tied to a right-wing political agenda. “If we want to make a statement as a council that we don’t necessarily condone the use of references to Blue Lives Matter, I’m willing to do that,” he said.
See and hear radio station FM 97.1 report. Hosts on the station disagree with Greenberg’s position.
Council member Shawn Faulkingham detailed Sunday on Facebook how he has supported the Maplewood Police for his 16+ years on the council and continued, “Due to the insurrection to our great Democracy and the use of this symbol by right wing extremists, I thought it prudent as a Councilmember to review the use of this symbol by the MPOA as it was brought to my attention by several Maplewood constituents.”
He said he understands that “their use of the Blue Lives Matter symbol is true to the intent of representing their brother/sisterhood of Police.”
But he said he doesn’t understand “that they think questioning the use of the symbol which was used during the insurrection of our Nation’s Capital and our Democracy where LEO’s [law enforcement officers] died implies that we don’t support the Maplewood Police Department and it’s officers or dismissing it’s use or dismissing them as Police Officers. We do support and have supported them whole-heartedly! The history of that support is reflective of the great Police Department it has become.”
“Again, it is the Council’s duty to ask questions and review policies to ensure that our Departments are reflective of the City of Maplewood. Just because we question something does not imply non-support or dismissal; it implies that we do care and do support our Police Officers and all other Departments, as many of them will tell you.”
The Maplewood Police Officers Association’s statement:
We are deeply hurt and saddened by the recent statements made by our Mayor and city council members during the last city council meeting referencing our Thin Blue Line flag on our Association’s Facebook page. The implication that the men and women of our police department would openly display a symbol of hatred and racism is appalling. Although we feel your opinions about the thin blue line flag is fraught with misinformation, for us, it stands for sacrifice, brother and sisterhood, and our commitment to our community. And the flag upon which it sits merely represents our patriotism to our country.
To dismiss this symbol is to dismiss us. The same bicycle officer making friendships as she rides down the business district on Manchester. The same officer that applied a tourniquet to your child’s arm. The same officer that sits at your children’s school bus stop to make sure they get to school safely. The officer that comforted you in your time of need and told you, “this too will pass. “ And the 30+ officers who were your secret Santa.
We do more in this community than just enforce laws; we are your neighbors. All we ask for is your support.