Ohio PD removes thin blue line flag after ‘unhealthy reaction’
Chief Richard Tonelli said the flag had “caused a divisive and unhealthy reaction" within the community
By Suzie Ziegler
SOLON, Ohio — The Solon Police Department in Ohio announced Tuesday that it has removed a thin blue line flag from its property.
In a letter posted to the department’s Facebook page, Chief Richard Tonelli said the flag had “caused a divisive and unhealthy reaction within our community.” Tonelli later went on a radio show to say the decision had been the mayor’s, according to WKYC.
"Unfortunately, the mayor thought it was the best course of action to take,” Tonelli told the show’s host. "As a police department, we're disappointed, and I know there's a lot of people who are disappointed as well.”
Tonelli added that “a group of people” had apparently spoken out against the flag on social media.
In his letter, Tonelli writes, "It is unfortunate that the thin blue line imagery has been associated with extreme and dismissive views that are counter to our values. Nonetheless, we are sensitive to the fact that it alienates us from those we are committed to serve and protect."
Mayor Edward Kraus shared his own letter on Facebook about the incident.
"It seems a few of our residents took Chief Tonelli's raising of the 'Thin Blue Line' flag on department property to mean something that was clearly not intended,” Kraus wrote. "In the interests of narrowing the focus of dialogue strictly on supporting our officers, I requested the removal of the current 'Thin Blue Line' flag in hopes another symbol might be better suited.”
Read the full letters from the chief and mayor below: