‘Thin Blue Line’ flag supporters greet Hogan, Elrich in Montgomery Co.

Demonstrators outside the Universities at Shady Grove in Rockville, Maryland, call out their support of Gov. Larry Hogan on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich agree on one thing when it comes to the “Thin Blue Line” flag: Both say the symbol has been “misappropriated.”

Hogan criticized Elrich for refusing a gift of the flag to a Montgomery County police station. Hogan, who has said the flag supports the work of police, remarked Thursday that the flag had been made into a controversial symbol, but that was “far-left nonsense.”

Elrich’s position is that the flag was appropriated by hate groups — that it went from being a symbol honoring police to a symbol of intimidation, “and I don’t need people to think that’s the flag we’re flying, and that’s my dilemma,” he said.

But Elrich’s rejection of the gifted flag to the 5th District police station should not be seen as a lack of support for police, he said. “I don’t have anything against police officers — this wasn’t meant as a slap at anybody,” Elrich said.

Hogan said he never intended to create controversy with his criticism of Elrich. He was upset to see that the father and son who created the flag for their local police department had been rebuffed.

“I just was hurt by it, and insulted by it, and I just thought it was wrong,” Hogan said.

Three people holding large “Thin Blue Line” flags showed up outside the Universities at Shady Grove, where Hogan and Elrich were attending a ribbon cutting. They called out to Hogan, thanking him for his stance on the issue.

“The thin blue line is the line that our police form between chaos and order,” said David Gannon of Gaithersburg. “It has never been a symbol for racism. It should not be seen as that.”

Gannon said he was there to support police and to thank Hogan for his support of police.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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