DENVER (KDVR) – A local police chaplain says his homeowners association is demanding he take down his “thin blue line” American flag. It comes at a time when he says the officers he works with need support the most. He says the past three weeks have been very trying for his officers. He wants to show his appreciation for law enforcement, but he doesn’t want to show his face or use his name for his family’s safety.
“My officers and most officers are wonderful people. I just want the police officers to know they’re doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing: protecting and serving. I’ve seen them work 16-18 hour days and turn around and do it again, even when they’ve been yelling at them, telling them they hate them and they want them to die. I’ve seen officers give up their own family’s money for Christmas for underprivileged kids in the worst neighborhoods. I work with so many officers that are so amazing,” he said.
He said his flag has been up since National Police week in May, and he has no intention of taking it down now.
“I believe that’s why I’m being targeted — because I’m associated with them. I believe it’s just because it’s every thing going on in the world right now, in this country,” he said.
He received a notice from his home owners association, saying “it was observed there is a ‘white lives matter flag’” hanging in front of his home. The chaplain says the thin blue line American flag stands for the sacrifice law enforcement officers make.
“There’s nothing about racism at all there. It’s simply saying, ‘We stand for you. You continue to do all the great things you do.’ I serve with so many different officers of so many different ethnic backgrounds. I’ve shared it with them. This isn’t a white lives, this is a blue lives matter, because they do,” he said.
The letter went on to quote guidelines: “No unsightly article shall be permitted” and said “please remove the items and store them out sight.”
“I can’t take the flag down. I’d be a hypocrite. If I can stand before multitudes of officers, they are doing a good deed for what they are doing and then I take that flag down and say, ‘Well, I’m going to have to take it down, no it’s got to stay up,” the chaplain said.
Neighbors with flags supporting fire and military have not been told to remove theirs.
“I think there’s a mixed message, the wrong message that police officers are evil people. It’s just farthest from the truth. They’re not evil at all. I see them day in and day out, every night, continuing to be patient, continuing to be loving, continuing to try to help people. You know, I have a chaplain badge and I’ve told them I’m proud to wear that badge. Not because it’s a police badge or because it’s this department or that, it’s because of the things I’ve seen them do,” he said.
The chaplain says he was also told to take down his blue light and an angel over his garage. A legal expert said homeowners associations are private, so this would not be protected under the First Amendment, but there is a Colorado law that protects homeowners’ rights to display flags and political signs from HOA restrictions. The HOA has not yet responded to a number of requests for comment.