LAPD Chief Michel Moore sent an email to department personnel on Friday making the announcement to remove the flags, blaming "extremist groups" who have "hijacked the use" of the Thin Blue Line.
"Earlier this week there was a member of the public that complained of a 'Thin Blue Line Flag' being displayed over the front desk of Rampart Station. The complaint stems from their belief the symbol signifies support of extremists views such as those espoused by the Proud Boys and others," Moore announced.
"I directed to have the item taken down in our lobbies wherever possible. Memorials for our fallen are also authorized in all public spaces."
The police chief, appointed in 2018 by former LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, went on to say that he disagreed with the community member's views, but conceded its divisiveness.
"While I do not personally view the 'Thin Blue Line Flag' in the same manner as the community member and others, its display in our public lobbies can be divisive."
He added that personnel may still keep a Thin Blue Line symbol in their personal areas, such as their workspace or locker.
"It's unfortunate that extremist groups have hijacked the use of the 'Thin Blue Line Flag' to symbolize their undemocratic, racist, and bigoted views," Moore continued.
Though expressing sympathy for those within the department who view the symbol as unifying rather than bigoted, the police chief ultimately decided to go against the wishes of the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL), the local police union which boasts of nearly 10,000 members.
In a statement to Fox News, the LAPPL board of directors decried the move, calling it "political pandering."
"It is difficult to express the level of utter disgust and disappointment with Chief Moore's politically pandering directive to remove Thin Blue Line flags and memorials for fallen officers from all public areas within our police stations," the union representatives wrote. It is unclear if certain memorial displays were taken down, due to the conflicting statements from the police chief and the LAPPL.
"This direction came as a result of complaints from anti-police, criminal apologists, and activists who hold too much sway over our city leaders and, unfortunately, our Chief," they continued.
The union went on to say that they're "vehemently" against "this disrespectful and defeatist kowtowing by our department leadership to groups that praise the killing of police officers and outright call for violence against those of us in uniform."
"We have directly expressed our outrage to the Chief," the board said.
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