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Idaho prosecutors explain tweet with 'thin blue line' flag

Idaho prosecutors explain tweet with 'thin blue line' flag

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Magic Valley Law Enforcement Memorial Service

A black and white American flag with a blue stripe waves in the wind May 20, 2017, during the annual Magic Valley Law Enforcement Memorial Service at the Twin Falls City Park in Twin Falls. The ‘Thin Blue Line’ flags are designed to show support for officers and the sacrifice they make.

BOISE (AP) — The Ada County prosecutor’s office has received online criticism after promoting its services in honor of Crime Victims’ Rights Week last month with a post on Twitter where the thin blue line flag was visible in the background.

The tweet included a link to a blog post that highlighted victim-witness coordinators who work to make victims “feel empowered when moving through the criminal justice system.”

Several people and organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho, questioned if the prosecutors also served residents who experienced police violence, the Idaho Statesman reported.

“Whether they are victims of police brutality, whether they have experienced domestic violence at the hands of a law enforcement officer, that may all have implications on whether a victim may feel safe,” said Lauren Bramwell, a policy strategist for the ACLU of Idaho.

The “thin blue line,” a reference to the blue of police uniforms, is a symbol worn to show support for law enforcement. But the symbol recently has become politically charged and used by counterprotesters at rallies for racial justice and the Black Lives Matter movement.

The Ada County prosecutor’s office told the Idaho Statesman in a statement that it did not intend to take any position other than to highlight the work of those who support crime victims. It noted that the photo with the flag was not taken in its office lobby but inside an office space that is not accessible to the public.

“We understand that our original message in the post was overshadowed by the controversy of the Thin Blue Line, which is in the background of the photo,” the statement said. “We know there is controversy behind that meaning today, but did not intend the photo of our victim witness coordinators to be a comment on that controversy.”

It is unclear if the office removed the flag.

For copyright information, check with the distributor of this item, Idaho Statesman.

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