Is the Police Thin Blue Line Flag an Illegal Desecration? (2023)


The police Thin Blue Line flag is controversial for some. It represents the bravery of police officers to the law enforcement community. It is a symbol of division and repression to others.

Is it a violation of US flag codes?
Is it a desecration?
Is it an illegal gang flag?


Welcome to the lawn smoke channel, I'm, professor Walker.

And the question today is our Thin Blue Line flags and variations of those are they a desecration of the US flag, and therefore violating US flag, codes, any illegal, well, before we get to the answer to that question, a little bit of background about where these flags originated.

And the phrase came from the Thin Blue Line was a term that actually has its origin and earlier descriptions of what was called The Thin, Red Line describing the British redcoats in battle.

And then the Thin Blue Line was used by a police chief in a speech where he described the police officers being a thin blue line, protecting society from chaos and disorder and it's been used to interpret by law enforcement officers their role in protecting the public from people that want to harm them.

So from a police officer's point of view, it is not a divisive flag.

It is a flag honoring their service and indicating that idea or concept that they are what protects society from chaos and disorder and people that would want to harm innocent people.

Well for people who are police activists people that are First Amendment activists and orders.

Sometimes they see it differently.

And they believe that the flag is divisive and that the idea of the blue line is in a separation between the police and the public.

And they believe that that flag is offensive and a common criticism of thin blue line flag.

Then is it a violates US flag, code and I'm, just gonna read one piece of the flag code title.

36, chapter, 10, 176, respect for the flag.

No respect should be so shown to the flag of the United States of America.

The flag should not be dipped to any person or thing.

Regimental, color, state flags and organization of Institute or institutional Flags.

There would be dipped as a mark of honor.

The flag should never have placed upon it.

And or on any part of it, nor attached to any mark insignia letter word, figure design or picture or drawing of any nature.

Well, the flag codes are rules about how a flag is supposed to be displayed and about a how flag should be treated and there's more to it than that.

But this is normally what's quoted in the flag desecration accusation.

Well, the problem is there's, some Supreme Court case, law, starting with Texas v, Johnson and the United States states, vs.

Eichmann that clearly disallow for the enforcement of any flag code, any sort of desecration of flag laws as being unconstitutional and that those are protected free speech.

So technically you could argue that a thin blue line flag is yes, any legal flag because it's a violation of the US flag code.

But we also have case law.

And the Supreme Court has ruled on multiple occasions that any sort of desecration of flag.

Law is an unconstitutional unenforceable law.

So you've got a law that's still in place and on the books, but it's unenforceable.

And there have been attempts by Congress to pass flag protection bills that have then been thrown out to try to get an amendment to the Constitution prohibiting desecration of flags.

But let's say that were to pass.

This is not the only symbol that would be affected by that the politicians that were there flag pins.

Those were technically illegal prior to Texas v, Johnson.

And the Eichmann case those flags would have been a desecration and altering of the flag, the flag t-shirts, the flag hats, the flag bikinis people wear at the fourth of July and their summer weekends all of those things would be considered desecrations of the flag and would be illegal.

But because of again, Texas v, Johnson and the Aikman u.s.

Aikman case, those are no longer a desecration.

This is not legally a desecration.

So then the other argument is well, maybe you're right, professor, Walker, maybe it's, technically, not illegal, but I find that flag offensive and I think it's a desecration.

So therefore I think you should take it down police departments.

Should take it down.

This flag should not be flown.

And my response to that would be more of a question.

And the question would be if the Supreme Court has ruled that this flag.

And any alterations of the US flag are not illegal that they are free and protected speech.

Why would you be trying to stifle someone's free speech because it's offensive to you? Because is that not what the nature of free speech is is that speech, especially political speech, all speech should be allowed, not suppressed.

No matter how offensive you find it and I'm gonna read a little line from the Eichmann decision from one of the justices.

And what it said was, even though that the flag desecration could be a deeply offensive to some the government may not prohibit the expression of any idea, simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.

And then if you were going to argue about the practicality of this, well, if it is offensive to people maybe it's in better taste to remove it.

Well, put a petition up to try to ban the flying of these flags and out of a country of 327 million people only 1200 people signed to that petition.

So I don't believe that it's offensive to a very large group of people I believe, it's, a very tiny group of people that are then trying to impose their will in their belief that this flag is offensive on a much.

Larger majority and I believe that that's a very counter to our Bill of Rights in the founding of our country and freedom of expression and individual liberties.

You should be able to fly whatever flag you want.

You should be able to have whatever speech you want I.

Am NOT here to impose my will upon you and your speech and your free speech rights and I don't think it's fair for people within the police auditing community, or for those police activists to say, hey, this flag is offensive.

And then take it down because that even the wording of that that that flag is offensive it's, a desecration.

Take it down.


Contrary to American ideals.

It is contrary to the freedoms of our Bill of Rights.

So the answer ultimate answer to the question was is this flag? Illegal is it a desecration? The illegal part is a yes or no technically.

This is a violation of the US flag code.

But also just like many other laws and ordinances in this country, including laws that were put on the books banning same-sex relationships.

But then the court eventually overturned that law and found that law, unconstitutional it's, a non enforceable law with no path multi-and.

And if you go to some legal theory, and when we teach legal theory, if a law does not have a punishment it's, not a law.

It doesn't matter like if I I put a sign on the freeway that says, the speed limits, 50 miles per hour.

But the fine is zero dollars.

Then it's really not a law because nothing's going to happen nothing's gonna come of it if there's no consequence to it.

So so then the next piece is is it a desecration? If you believe it is, then it is but see the opposite side of that is I don't believe it is so it isn't because the desecration of a flag that is a not an objective fact, that's a subjective belief.

And so for many people across this country, this does not represent a desecration, but it represents honor to people who are serving in the protective services for others.

It represents a desecration, therefore I cannot say that it is a desecration because that is subjective and that's up to the eye of the beholder.

And we've already seen that movements at least that petition to try to remove force Police Department's to remove thin blue line.

Flags did not get much support.

So it is I would say a small percentage of the population that actually believes.

This is a desecration so that's.

It it's a lawn smoke channel, professor Walker.

If you like this channel you're interested in being a police officer, and you want to catch my other videos on how to get through the hiring process how to pass polygraphs and your background, investigations subscribe to my channel.

And then check out those other videos, I'm out.


Is the Police Thin Blue Line Flag an Illegal Desecration? ›

The current amended U.S. Flag Code

U.S. Flag Code
The United States Flag Code establishes advisory rules for display and care of the national flag of the United States of America. It is Chapter 1 of Title 4 of the United States Code (4 U.S.C. § 5 et seq). › wiki › United_States_Flag_Code
has no penalty provision and is considered advisory flag etiquette. Supporters of the Blue Line flag are not insensitive to the Flag Code's standards. They argue that it's not a desecration of the American flag, because it's a completely different flag.

Is the blue line American flag illegal? ›

Moore has also prohibited any use of the thin blue line patch on officer uniforms or bumper stickers on police vehicles. Displaying the flag on non-public property such as an officer's locker, personal workspace or personal vehicle is still allowed, officials said.

Is the blue line flag a desecration? ›

The United States flag code prohibits alterations and desecrations of the flag. Why then are Thin Blue Line flags considered permissible? The flag code is very specific, and any likeness of the American Flag that has been altered in any way (with other colors, logos, drawings, signatures, shapes, etc.) is a violation.

Where is the thin blue line flag banned? ›

The Los Angeles Police Department has banned the display of thin blue line flags due to complaints from the community, from some people who believe the symbol has been hijacked by extremist and white supremacists.

What is considered desecration of the flag? ›

Whoever knowingly mutilates, defaces, physically defiles, burns, maintains on the floor or ground, or tramples upon any flag of the United States shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.

Can you fly a thin blue line flag with the American flag? ›

The thin blue line flag is a different flag from the American flag, and should be treated as such. It can be flown by itself, or flown with an American flag. It can be flown on the same flagpole as an American flag, but should always be flown in the lower position.

Is the thin blue line disrespectful? ›

The "Thin Blue Line" flag, which resembles an American flag but has a blue stripe, is a sign of support for law enforcement but has also come to signal opposition to the racial justice movement and a symbol of white supremacy or support for the Blue Lives Matter cause.

What is the thin blue line flag for police? ›

The Meaning of the Thin Blue Line Flag: The Blue represents the officer and the courage they find deep inside when faced with unbelievable odds. The Black background was designed as a constant reminder of our fallen brother and sister officers.

What does a thin blue line flag mean? ›

In the 1950s, the blue line was adopted by law enforcement professionals to represent their courage and sacrifice while protecting the American people. The Thin Blue Line emblem was established to symbolize all law enforcement personnel similar to the Red Cross symbol representing all medical personnel.

Is it a felony to desecrate the American flag? ›

The U.S. Supreme Court has held that the government cannot prohibit citizens from desecrating the American flag. Congress has repeatedly attempted to outlaw flag burning through legislation and constitutional amendments, but none of these attempts have succeeded.

What flag is illegal to fly? ›

The short answer is “no,” flags that display tears or appear worn down in a significant way should not be hoisted under any circumstances, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

What flag was banned in the US? ›

After the branch-specific bans, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper issued guidance in July that effectively forbade the display of the battle flag by all uniformed American military personnel and at all US military installations around the world.

What does a police badge with a black line through it mean? ›

Black mourning bands shall be worn on a law enforcement badge only in the following circumstances: Upon the line of duty death of an active law enforcement officer (LEO) in your department. The mourning band should be worn for a period of thirty days from the date of death.

What are five things not allowed under the flag code? ›

Here are more Flag Code regulations:

Never use it for holding anything. Never place anything on the flag, including letters, insignia, or designs of any kind. Don't fasten or display it in a way that will permit it to be damaged or soiled. Never let the flag touch anything beneath it: ground, floor, water, merchandise.

Why is desecration of the flag illegal? ›

Flag burning is the destruction of a symbol of national unity. Even if the flag that is destroyed is private property, the government has a legitimate interest in regulating its protection because of what the flag represents to the nation.

Is the Flag Protection Act still in effect? ›

Flag Protection Act of 1989 was struck down on First Amendment grounds. In response to this ruling, the 101st Congress passed the Flag Protection Act of 1989 giving Congress the right to enact statutes criminalizing the burning or desecration of the flag in public protest.

Does the blue line flag violate the Flag Code? ›

[4] [5] [6] The black and white flag with the blue stripe – which takes the image of the American flag – does not violate the code of the American flag. But Lowe acknowledged that the meaning of flags can change over the centuries.

What is the only flag allowed to fly above the American flag? ›

The Christian flag may fly above the US flag only "during church services conducted by naval chaplains at sea, when the church pennant may be flown above the flag during church services for the personnel of the Navy" (Flag Code, Section 7c).

Can I fly any flag I want? ›

What are the rules for flying a foreign flag on its own in the USA? You are absolutely allowed to do this as well. You don't have to fly the U.S. flag if you want to fly your own country's flag. There are no specific rules in the Flag Code for flying your own country's flag!

What does a backwards black and white American flag mean? ›

Today, the reverse flag is worn on the right sleeve of military uniforms and symbolizes the courage and respect of the soldiers who serve.

What does a black and white American flag mean? ›

The black and white American flag originated during the American Civil War between 1861 and 1865. It was created as an opposing symbol to the white flag, which symbolizes surrender. Confederate army soldiers flew the black flag to demonstrate they would not give in or surrender to the enemy.

What thin line flag is for security? ›

The “Thin Green Line” represents Federal Agents such as Border Patrol, Park Rangers, Game Wardens and Conservation Personnel, whereas the “Thin Silver Line” represents Corrections Officers. What is missing is any type of a standardized “Thin Line” color that represents the security profession, both public and private.

What does black flag mean? ›

The black flag is a racing flag used to signal a driver's disqualification. In sail racing, when the black flag is displayed with the preparatory signal, a boat that is over the starting line in the minute before the starting signal is immediately disqualified without a hearing.

What does the thin black line mean? ›

Each stripe has its own meaning, the black stripe on the top is the public, the bottom black stripe is the criminals. The thin blue line in the middle that separates the two is a representation of law enforcement, they are what stand between the two.

What is the thin purple line flag? ›

The Thin Purple Line Flag was adopted in 2020 to represent security professionals. For outdoor or indoor display, this flag is made from 100% heavyweight nylon fabric specially treated to minimize sun and chemical deterioration.

What is the meaning of Don't Tread on Me? ›

The tread in Gadsden's defiant phrase, don't tread on me, means “to step, walk, or trample so as to press, crush, or injure something.” And so, with its tongue flicked, fangs out, and body coiled in defense, the rattlesnake (and motto) warns: “If you dare put your foot down on me, I will strike.”

What is the national police flag? ›

The imagery of American policing has come to be represented by the thin blue line. A flag created around that theme is black and white with a blue line as the center horizontal stripe. The blue line represents the men and women of law enforcement who stand in the gap between the lawless and the innocent.

Is the flag code actually a law? ›

Although this is a U.S. federal law, the code is not mandatory: it uses non-binding language like "should" and "custom" throughout and does not prescribe any penalties for failure to follow the guidelines. It was "not intended to proscribe conduct" and was written to "codify various existing rules and customs."

What does it mean to desecrate a body? ›

For purposes of this section, “desecration of a human corpse” means any act committed after the death of a human being including, but not limited to, dismemberment, disfigurement, mutilation, burning, or any act committed to cause the dead body to be devoured, scattered or dissipated; except, those procedures performed ...

Is changing the colors of the American flag disrespectful? ›

Displaying support for first responders is fine but changing the colors or design of the flag us a violation of U.S. Code Section 700 which states, “The flag of the United States shall be thirteen horizontal stripes, alternate red and white; and the union of the flag shall be fifty stars, white in a blue field.” ...

What does the blue line American flag mean? ›

In the 1950s, the blue line was adopted by law enforcement professionals to represent their courage and sacrifice while protecting the American people. The Thin Blue Line emblem was established to symbolize all law enforcement personnel similar to the Red Cross symbol representing all medical personnel.

What does an American flag with a blue stripe mean? ›

The flag, which shows a thin blue stripe in place of one of the flag's standard 13 red stripes, is meant to show support for law enforcement — but the "thin blue line" flag also has been associated, at times, with white nationalists.

Is it legal to change the colors of the American flag? ›

Displaying support for first responders is fine but changing the colors or design of the flag us a violation of U.S. Code Section 700 which states, “The flag of the United States shall be thirteen horizontal stripes, alternate red and white; and the union of the flag shall be fifty stars, white in a blue field.” ...

What is the American Flag Code law? ›

Public Law 94-344, known as the Federal Flag Code, contains rules for handling and displaying the U.S. flag. While the federal code contains no penalties for misusing the flag, states have their own flag codes and may impose penalties. The language of the federal code makes clear that the flag is a living symbol.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Domingo Moore

Last Updated: 03/05/2023

Views: 5291

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (73 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Domingo Moore

Birthday: 1997-05-20

Address: 6485 Kohler Route, Antonioton, VT 77375-0299

Phone: +3213869077934

Job: Sales Analyst

Hobby: Kayaking, Roller skating, Cabaret, Rugby, Homebrewing, Creative writing, amateur radio

Introduction: My name is Domingo Moore, I am a attractive, gorgeous, funny, jolly, spotless, nice, fantastic person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.