Denver, CO – A Denver police chaplain said that his homeowners association (HOA) ordered him to remove the “Thin Blue Line” flag he has flying outside his home because they deemed it to be a symbol of “white Lives Matter.”
The unnamed chaplain said that he fully supports law enforcement officers, and that the flag symbolizes the sacrifices they make when they put on their uniforms every day, KDVR reported.
“There’s nothing about racism at all there,” the chaplain told KDVR. “It’s simply saying, ‘We stand for you.’”
He said the flag has been on display outside his home since National Police Week last month.
The HOA claimed in a letter to the chaplain that the flag signifies “white Lives Matter” and that they had deemed it to be in violation of the association’s rules.
“No unsightly article shall be permitted,” the letter read, quoting the HOA guidelines. “Please remove the items and store them out of sight.”
The association also demanded that he remove the angel and blue light hanging over his garage, he said.
The chaplain told KDVR that he has no intention of removing his Thin Blue Line flag, and noted that neighbors who fly flags in support of the military and firefighters have not been ordered to take theirs down.
“I can’t take the flag down – I’d be a hypocrite,” he said.
The chaplain described the officers he works with as “wonderful people.”
“I’ve seen them work 16- to 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,” he told KDVR. “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.”
The chaplain said he is proud to wear his police chaplain’s badge because of the loving, patient and kind acts he has witnessed officers perform while he as been working with them.
“I think there’s a mixed message, the wrong message that police officers are evil people,” he told KDVR. “It’s just farthest from the truth.”
The chaplain said he believes the HOA “targeted” him because of his association with local law enforcement.
“I serve with so many different officers of so many different ethnic backgrounds,” he said. This isn’t a white lives, this is a blue lives matter, because they do…I just want the police officers to know they’re doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing: protecting and serving.”
Because HOAs are private, the chaplain’s decision to fly his Blue Line Flag is not protected by his free speech rights under the First Amendment, a legal expert told KDVR.
On the other hand, Colorado law specifically permits residents to fly flags and display political signs outside their homes, regardless of HOA rules.
The chaplain’s HOA has not responded to repeated requests for comments on the issue, according to KDVR.