Leon Valley, TX — Police accountability activists in Texas have been arrested, their cameras seized, and their rights violated after one of them walked into the Leon Valley City Hall and desecrated the Thin Blue Line flag in front of multiple cops.
After the man stomped on the already torn and stained flag, the group of 1st Amendment auditors were swarmed by cops and arrested. The protesters were attempting to make a point about how the flag is an insult to the actual American flag and how it represents the deaths of over 1,000 Americans every year—many of whom are unarmed and innocent.
On Monday, the group started outside in front of city hall where they flew the thin blue line flag upside down and then painted it red and tore it. The protest then moved into the building where the protesters gathered in the lobby showing police what they had done to the flag. Police claimed they arrested the the protesters because they were “obstructing the passageway” into city hall.
However, none of them blocked or attempted to block anyone from entering. What’s more, police nearly took down an innocent woman—who was not apart of the protest—while rushing in to arrest the activists. While the activists were being placed under arrest, the officers began confiscating cameras, claiming they would be used as evidence in the case against them.
Although police claim the activists were obstructing the passage, it is clear from multiple videos there was no such obstruction. As city hall is a public building, the group had every right to be there exercising their free speech. As PINAC points out, the thin blue line flag, often worn on police uniforms, plastered across their vehicles, and even hanging in some departments, is a desecration to the American flag, according to the U.S. Flag Code, 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 forty-eight stars, white in a blue field.
Even more damning, according to the police accountability group, one of the protesters who was arrested said a cop told him that they were following orders to “go grab cameras,” which is a huge Constitutional violation, especially since they already have security cameras that should have recorded the protester’s actions. While we have seen people unlawfully arrested for desecrating the American flag before, this is the first time we have seen an arrest related to the desecration of a thin blue line flag.
Exactly what charges all the activists are facing remain unclear. However, what’s entirely clear is the fact that they were not harming anyone and their rights were violated. One of the protesters noted his reasoning behind why the group chose to do what they did. Explaining that he does not hate cops, but explained the need to protest the institution itself.
To criticize or present opposition to the institution of state and federally funded law enforcement is often considered tantamount to treason – or, at the very least, it is considered unpatriotic. After all, we have all been told every moment of our lives that a world without police would immediately turn into a frothing, frenzied orgy of mass insanity and that average human beings cannot be trusted to take responsibility for the day-to-day security of their neighborhoods and towns. Official doctrine today demands a designated warrior class, separate from the rest of us, to handle the protection and care of weakling citizens. Now, it is important to note that there are, in fact many good people working in the field of law enforcement. This is not under debate and not relevant to the point I am about to make. The problem is not necessarily with all the individuals who make-up law enforcement; the problem is with the existence and mandate of the institution itself. I personally do not “hate” cops per se (though some of them deserve to be hated). But I do hate corrupt government structures, and law enforcement has become the grasping arm of the elitist machine.