Aurora man disputes HOA fines for flying flags celebrating Black culture

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AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — Shandon Toliver walks his husky “King” around the block of the Copperleaf neighborhood in Aurora, and comes home to a black flag hanging outside his door. 

The flag depicts two sheathed swords with gold handles and a red star between them, saying “Buffalo Soldiers” in gold on the top and bottom. This isn’t the first flag he has flown to support Black culture, and it’s the second time he is being fined over the issue from the homeowners association.

“We don’t have a flag to display that truly represents us,” Toliver said.

He was hanging a Black Lives Matter flag near the door of the Aurora home, but was told it was in violation of HOA rules.

“Well, what’s the problem with the flag?” Toliver said. “Because a couple houses down there’s a Blue Lives Matter flag.”

Turns out those flags had to be taken down too, for violating the policy which states “all flagpoles are to be used for the flying of U.S. flags and military service flags only.”

It’s what inspired Toliver to put up the Buffalo Soldiers flag, to try to be within the HOA rules but still show a symbol of Black pride. The Buffalo Soldiers were an African American infantry division in the US Army that fought in both World Wars.

“I’m trying to fight in the little ways I can, just like they did,” Toliver said.

Once again, he was met with a notice and more fines because the flag was in violation of the policy.

The Problem Solvers reached out to the HOA. A spokesperson said:

“The HOA guidelines follow the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act in allowance for the display of service flags bearing a star denoting the service of the owner or occupant of the unit, or of a member of the owner’s or occupant’s immediate family, in the active or reserve military service of the United States during a time of war or armed conflict.  The association may adopt reasonable rules regarding the size and manner of display of service flags; except that the maximum dimensions allowed shall be not less than nine inches by sixteen inches.

The Buffalo Service flag denotes service of military members from a historical conflict and is not a service flag from the active or reserve military service of the United States during a time of war or armed conflict that is occurring now.”

The spokesperson said the Board will likely make a modification to the code to clarify any future confusion, since that definition isn’t spelled out in the HOA’s rules.

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