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Thin blue line flag causes controversy in Montgomery County

Thin blue line flag causes controversy in Springfield Township
Thin blue line flag causes controversy in Springfield Township 02:12

WYNDMOOR, Pa. (CBS) -- A Montgomery County community is debating whether a variation of a flag should be displayed on township property. While some see the thin blue line flag as a symbol of support for police, others say it is offensive and goes against Black Lives Matter.

The flag is used in the logo for the Springfield Township Police Association, an organization separate from the township, but comprised of township police officers.

In December, the board voted to block a total ban, but on Monday, a proposed policy to restrict its display among employees and on township property pitted neighbors against neighbors.

"They are going to try to pull puppet strings with their lies and their mischaracterizations," one man said.

"Once they have succeeded in this brainwashing against the thin blue line flag," another man said, "they may very well move on to exploit acceptable symbols."

Residents and community leaders in Springfield Township remain divided over a black and white flag with a thin blue line used as part of the local police benevolent associations' logo.

Some say this American flag variation symbolizes solidarity and support for police.

Others say it's racist and hateful toward people facing racial inequalities.

"I would like to see this whole thing go away," Springfield Township resident Jane Thomas said.

"The symbol means different things to different people," Springfield Township resident Adam Goren said.

Commissioner Ed Graham initially introduced measures to limit the flag's display.

"When you wave this flag, it is just like for African Americans the waving of a Confederate flag," Graham said.

On Monday night, dozens came out to argue for or against such efforts, including many who wear the uniform.

"You guys aren't talking to these police officers, finding out how they feel about what this symbol represents to them because if you did," a man said said, "I guarantee you would get a different response. Your response would be more of a brotherhood or sisterhood to protect each other."

CBS Philadelphia reached out to the Springfield Township Police Benevolent Association and Montgomery County Fraternal Order of Police. Both declined to comment.

A final vote will happen among the commissioners Wednesday night during a regularly scheduled business meeting.

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