The Wildcat Asks: What is your reaction to the Thin Blue Line flag in Downtown Brea?

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Callie Yates

A Thin Blue Line flag stands atop the Farrell’s building in Downtown Brea. The raising of the flag stirred debate in the Brea community.

Conversation, condemnation, and support erupted among Brea residents when Downtown Brea developer Dwight Manley (’84) had a Thin Blue Line flag raised above the shuttered Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor on the corner of Brea Blvd. and Birch St. on Sept. 17.

A subsequent post on the @brea.downtown Instagram account that featured a video of the planting of the flag and the words “#breastrong” and “Brea Downtown supports law enforcement” generated over 16,500 views and 4600 comments from both those for and against the raising of the flag.

The Wildcat asked BOHS students for their thoughts about the raising of the Thin Blue Line flag in Downtown Brea. Here are some of the responses: 

“I think this flag is a great gesture to the people who go out and risk their lives every day for us. Law enforcement officers are being hated by a lot of people and they need our support now more than ever.” – Brandon Godde, senior

“I feel that police should also be supported because not all police are bad. I feel that most police officers are actually good people. Some abuse [their power] but most don’t. They shouldn’t be hated for trying to keep America safe.” – Hogan Kim, sophomore

“I think it is extremely disrespectful to intentionally put up a flag with a hateful connotation in the same spot where a protest for equality took place, and then post about it proudly. They value order over change and believe a position in law enforcement deserves more recognition than an entire race of people.” – Haylie Kent, junior

“While it’s important to recognize how helpful law enforcement is, we also need to understand that some people have had bad experiences with the police and that flag is a daily reminder of the oppression some people might have to endure. As a Black and Mexican resident of Brea, seeing how a peaceful protest to support BLM wasn’t deemed as ‘acceptable’ enough for my city to promote, yet they openly and willingly support the police who make me feel unwanted in my own town.” – Gabrielle Smith, sophomore

I think this flag should still exist and not get destroyed because it’s very disrespectful to destroy a flag that represents hard work for the city and its citizens; everyone should thank the police for their help. I think that this flag respects law enforcement and every police officer who has sacrificed their lives to protect us from crime and violence.” – Chris Landreth, senior

“They may not have explicitly captioned [the Instagram] post ‘Blue Lives Matter,’ but that flag represents it. Brea has chosen not to acknowledge the racism and flawed systems that are so prevalent today.” – Alison Park, sophomore

 “Not everyone within our community agrees with this flag, therefore it should not be placed to represent Brea. This is offensive and hurtful. People all over Orange County will be seeing this and the first thing that will come to mind is ‘Brea is racist.’ Brea has a beautifully diverse community from people all over the world. This is not who we are. This is not what we represent. But until that flag gets taken down, that’s how everyone else will see us.” – Melissa Perez, senior

“Someone is actually standing up for what’s right amidst all the negativity and opposing views. Since when did it become a problem to honor the people who risk their lives daily for the people? Police officers risk their lives to keep our country safe.” – Keely Hunt, sophomore 

“I think it’s quite a disgrace, especially since the flag has been used as a counter to [Black Lives Matter]. I support all cops especially the ones in Brea but the Blue Lives Matter flag has been used inappropriately by people and I feel it is not necessary especially during our current political climate. I don’t think it was in ill will, but it makes Brea look anti-BLM.” – Steven Agrusa, junior

“[The flag is] amazing because the police work so hard for our community and protect us and they deserve some recognition.” – Sameer Raja, sophomore

“Blue Lives Matter was an ideal made in opposition to Black Lives Matter, to stand behind the police because not all cops are bad. The problem is, it completely takes away everything the Black Lives Matter movement represents. The cops are not dealing with injustice; they chose their career. I have friends who are cops, but the system behind them is what these protests are about.” – Ben Yates (‘20)

“I think that the police protect us and our community. Yes, there are some bad cops but that does not mean that all cops are bad. Blue lives matter because all lives matter. Everyone is human and we need to stop talking about race. I like the flag because I support the police.” – Alexis Alexander, junior

“I understand that Brea wants to support our police department and [its] hard work. However, the meaning of the flag obliterates the purpose of the BLM movement and the justice we are trying to bring.” – Aileen Kim, senior

“I believe as a community, we must agree as one on our political stance for Blue Lives Matter. Not saying everyone within our community must share the same opinion, but to represent our whole city with a Blue Lives Matter flag is quite selfish. I respect anyone who believes in the movement of Blue Lives Matter, but what about those who support the Black Lives Matter movement? Where is our flag in Downtown Brea?” – Liana Del Rosario, sophomore

On Sept. 17, a private citizen erected a Thin Blue Line flag atop the Farrell's building in Downtown Brea. What is your stance on the raising of the flag?

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