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SF chief bans ‘thin blue line’ face masks

Chief Bill Scott told officers he considered the masks a “meaningful expression,” but worried that some may see them as “divisive and disrespectful”


San Francisco police Chief Bill Scott has banned face masks adorned with the “thin blue line” flag.


Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco’s police chief said the city’s rank and file will wear neutral face coverings to defuse a controversy that was sparked when officers sent to patrol a May Day protest wore masks adorned with the “thin blue line” flag.

The police union ordered and distributed the masks emblazoned with black-and-white American flag with a blue stripe across the middle. The symbol is associated with the Blue Lives Matter movement, a display of unity among police officers.

In an email obtained by KTVU-TV, Chief Bill Scott told his officers Friday he considered the blue flag and stripe “a meaningful expression to honor fallen officers.” However, he worried that some may perceive the symbol as “divisive and disrespectful.”

The police union president, Tony Montoya, said the union had shown the masks to Scott’s command staff, and several of them had asked for more than one. The blue line “represents law enforcement’s separation of order and chaos,” he said.

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