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Flag ban stirs controversy

Gift of police rejected in Montgomery County
Posted at 4:36 PM, Nov 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-05 09:38:06-05

BEL AIR, Md. — A tribute to first responders.

That's why James Shelton and his son presented the wooden flag to police in Montgomery County, but others see it differently.

"These days you know there's a lot of police brutality, especially against minorities," one woman told the ABC affiliate in Washington.

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich agreed the symbol of support also could be viewed as one of dismissiveness and banned the station from displaying the 'thin blue line' flag, prompting Governor Larry Hogan to say he was offended and disgusted by the decision.

RELATED: Hogan "offended, disgusted" by County Executive's order banning "thin blue line" flag outside police station

Afterall, the same flag hangs in Government House, and in many police and sheriff's departments across the state, including Harford County.

"I think, probably like most people, I saw it on Facebook, on social media, and I think, like a lot of people, I was disgusted by such an arbitrary (decision), if that's the right word for it,” said Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler, “The county executive to reject such a kind and heartfelt gift from a young man towards law enforcement officers, (it's) just inconceivable in my mind."

Shelton reportedly crafted the wooden flag as woodworkers across the country followed suit to deliver the gifts last week in each of the 50 states.

Sheriff Gahler says those who are trying to assign a negative connotation to it don't know its history.

"The 'thin blue line' flag has been around, I think it's in the 1920s, or 1960s, I'm sorry, the 1960s and pre-dates all the nonsense we see with the very leftist, liberal slant on things today that tell you something like that is bad,” said Gahler, “It is a symbol of respect for the men and women of law enforcement, the 'thin blue line' that protects our communities from chaos."

The father and son craftsmen have delivered a similar flag with a red line to firefighters in Montgomery County, and no one has condemned that just yet.