The Frederick News-Post's front page for Tuesday, Nov. 5, reports on widely broadcast comments made by Sheriff Chuck Jenkins on a recent controversy in neighboring Montgomery County.

The Montgomery County police department had been given a model of the “thin blue flag” — a representation of the American flag that has a blue stripe replacing one of the standard red ones. This is meant to honor law enforcement officers, but the image has been adopted by white supremacist groups. As a result of this troubling association, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich said that the flag would not be displayed publicly at the police department. Jenkins appeared on a segment of the "Fox & Friends" television show on Nov. 4. He criticized Elrich’s decision, but went far beyond this one incident, to attack Elrich’s patriotism and commitment to America.

In turn, let’s consider how the sheriff himself is abusing his position.

As a county employee, Sheriff Jenkins should not be criticizing a public official in a different jurisdiction, especially on national television. It’s no business of his what happens in Montgomery County.

Sheriff Jenkins may disagree with Elrich on this one action, but it’s the worst kind of demagoguery and McCarthyism to condemn him as unpatriotic and anti-American.

Finally, if Sheriff Jenkins doesn’t like public officials taking controversial positions, why is he making inflammatory comments on a national propaganda show?

Mick O’Leary

Frederick

(56) comments

Lev928

KellyAlzan's ability to spew her online opinions is clearly based upon her lack of real world life experience, her inability to socially interact with human beings face-to-face, and a general lack of knowledge about the U.S. Constitution and law. Copying and pasting Wikipedia and news media reports in no way supports her ideology and reckless publicly posted opinions. Frankly, I'm surprised that an alleged "legitimate" news media outlet that the FNP claims to be allow her --- and certain others -- to continue to post unfounded, unproven, questionable and certainly biased comments. Then again, that has been the movement of the FNP over the last couple of years; to suppress truth and reality ... to fail in journalism ... and to abuse the First Amendment. Sheep. All of 'em.

KellyAlzan

Reading through the comments here. The majority of the people in support of Trumpkins do not understand the issue.

The MOCO executive never implied are did anything stating that he does not support his officers.

The issue isn’t about the laws / codes for the US flag.

Th issue isn’t about freedom Of speech or expression.

yogib

excellent letter.

DickD

Our Sheriff's office has agreements with adjacent communities to help in time of need. Making disparaging remarks about them is not going to help any of us.

KellyAlzan

When Trumpkins was a detective, while the FPD and Msp detectives were out gettin it done, Trumpkins was busy campaigning instead of closing cases Evident nothing has changed.

Comment deleted.
awteam2000

I thought Chuck took a sworn Oath of Office and Code of Ethics as a law enforcement officer 👮‍♀️? Right? Wouldn’t he have the responsibility to uphold the code of ethics. Would he permit a “swastika” or a “black lives matter banner” to hang in the police precinct, worn on the uniform or shown on a police vehicle? Or any other suspect political symbols. That would be in violation of the code of ethics which he swore to uphold... maybe he had his fingers crossed 🤞while taking the oath?

threecents

While I think the Montgomery County Exec handled the situation poorly, I agree that our sheriff was way out of line with his personal attack.

KarlBickel

[thumbup]

DickD

[thumbup]

KellyAlzan

Bottom line is simple. Law enforcement is to never display being partial to any religion, sexual orientation, race, color, group, etc. Sherf Trumpkins needs to read the FCSO General Order

KellyAlzan

The man, the man whom single handedly, caused an illegal immigrant, to receive a huge lottery payout via lawsuit, called the executive of MOCO a “total embarrassment”. And has the nerve to say “I’m outraged”.

Us frederick countians are “outraged” that Trumpkins cost us a ton of money with the Santos lawsuit, which he and the county lost. An illegal immigrant walking away now worth more than the vast majority of the people reading this letter to the editor. What the???

What a poor performing sheriff.

Here is the video from Fox:

https://video.foxnews.com/v/6100398409001/#sp=show-clips

Comment deleted.
KellyAlzan

Sorry, didn’t realize you have a premium subscription here

Comment deleted.
mr_twist27

That's all she ever posts about.

Dwasserba

It cost. But the audience here is small and saturated.

Comment deleted.
DickD

Are you threatening Kelly with bodily harm, User?

gdunn

Any mantra of the thin blue has ZERO to do it white supremacy.

mr_twist27

White supremacists also carry the American flag. I guess the stars and stripes is racist now too?

DickD

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/08/18/thin-blue-line-what-does-american-flag-wit-flag-maker-condemns-use-white-supremacists-charlottesvill/580694001/The "Thin Blue Line" stands for law enforcement's separation of order from chaos, or, as Oxford Dictionaries describes, it's a reference to police, "in the context of maintaining order during unrest."Yet, during the Charlottesville protests last weekend — a screaming example of mayhem— the proud symbol of police appeared amid a sea of white supremacists.A black-and-white American flag with a thin blue line across its center appeared among the Confederate flags toted by the white supremacists and neo-Nazis during the violent protests.At least one maker of the flag condemned its use in Charlottesville."We reject, in the strongest possible terms, any association of our flag with racism, hatred, and bigotry," said Thin Blue Line USA in a statement. "To use it in such a way tarnishes what it and our nation believe in. The thin blue line flag stands for the sacrifice law enforcement officers of this nation make each day. We ask our nation to hold faith with those that defend the thin blue line." 

MD1756

The problem is not the Blue Lives Matter movement, but that no one especially a governmental organization should be flying the "Thin Blue Line" flag becuase the flag (or facsimilies even in different forms) is a violation of Title 4 U.S. Code (USC) which addresses respect for the flag, Section 8 paragraph (g) states: "The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature." If one looks at paragraph (j) it is also clear that this code also applies to more than just flags, but the use of the flag design. Any U.S. flag maker or government official should know that the Thin Blue Line" flag violates the USC (although there is no penalty for doing so one is showing disrespect for the flag).
I wonder if white supremacists started to carry the rainbow flag, if everyone would then demand that no one fly that flag.

gabrielshorn2013

So, because some racist whack jobs appropriate that symbol, it is no longer appropriate to display it in support of our law enforcement? Come on, that makes as much sense as not being able to use the OK 👌 sign because some now believe it to represent white power. I can't wait to see what some folks say if they appropriate the 🙂 symbol.

awteam2000

Gab, Would that be like giving the “middle finger” means “one” 🤔?

U.S. Code § 8. Respect for flag

Any alterations to the flag of the United States of America is ‘void’, and does not represent the country. The US code states the flag can only be changed by congressional approval for addition of new states. Also, the flag should not be dipped to any person or thing. Regimental colors, State flags, and organization or institutional flags are to be dipped as a mark of honor.

gabrielshorn2013

aw, I am well aware of what the flag code says. I don't follow your reasoning. Someone made an artistic display using the flag to demonstrate support for LEOs, and that is racist? Please explain why. The Supreme Court has already ruled that art using the flag in such art is free speech, and protected by the 1A. Since that time the flag image has been used as a beach towel, outerwear, underwear, swimwear, etc.

Your example of the middle finger meaning one makes no sense. Flipping the bird has always meant the same thing. You would like to now add "you're number one" to that meaning? You will have a hard time with that transition, just like some PC folks are having a hard time getting people to accept that "OK" means anything other than OK. [beam]

awteam2000

1st,“The Supreme Court has already ruled that art using the flag in such art is free speech, and protected by the 1A.” You are mistaken. Such symbols do not apply to law enforcement and military. See: Title 36 Chapter 10 §176. Respect for flag

No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America; “ the flag should not be dipped to any person or thing. Regimental colors, State flags, and organization or institutional flags are to be dipped as a mark of honor.”

2nd, “Always?” The first documental appearance of the middle finger in the states was in 1886. During the Middle Ages, knights would raise their lances upright towards each other and began raising their middle fingers in a similar gesture. Throughout the classical era, from the middle of the 1700s to the early 1800s, the middle finger was used as a symbol of sexual intercourse which leads back today’s symbolic reference. It was popularized In 1968, the "USS Pueblo," an American spy ship being used for Navy intelligence, was captured by North Korea and became known as the Pueblo crisis. When the North Koreans would take a picture, crew members would discreetly give the finger, ruining the North Koreans' propaganda scheme. 

awteam2000

The “Thin Blue Line Flag” on police uniforms, vehicles, and buildings is being argued in violation of the US flag code in courts as we speak .

gabrielshorn2013

OK aw, apologies for being imprecise in my discussion. The "thin blue line" flag is not being used in any official capacity to represent the USA. It is art, or an expression, and as such enjoys the protection of freedom of expression found in the 1A. See Texas v. Johnson (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_v._Johnson). Mr O'Leary's statement was:

"This is meant to honor law enforcement officers, but the image has been adopted by white supremacist groups. As a result of this troubling association, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich said that the flag would not be displayed publicly at the police department."

He did not state that it was improper for the police to violate flag code. He said that it was improper to use because the "thin blue line" flag was adopted by white nationalists. Hence, my comment. The "thin blue line" symbol is not racist. The OK symbol is not racist (check snopes and the SPLC on that). Like I said, I am waiting for someone to pull a hoax saying the [smile] "smiley face" is now racist.

"The Supreme Court has ruled that politically motivated violations of the Flag Code are protected by the First Amendment. The Flag Code has no provision for enforcement. No fines, no penalties. There is nothing law enforcement can do when the Flag Code is broken." http://www.ushistory.org/betsy/faq.htm.

As for "the finger", OK, I did not think I had to go back to the beginning of time in my reference. I also did not say anything about the origin of the symbol in the US. You are correct, "the finger" was not always meant as such, but the middle finger symbol meaning "FU" has been around since antiquity. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_finger

Long before your reference.

MD1756

Gabrielshorn, the supreme court doesn't always get it right. In any event, people ignore the code becuase there is no penalty for violating the code. The police should design a different flag and/or logo to fly or display.

awteam2000

Imprecise or just wrong?🤔

Defamation of the US flag - U.S. Code § 700. Desecration of the flag of the United States; penalties. Just as recent as 2015 a person was sentence to jail , 2 years for deformation of the flag after his appeals failed to the Supreme Court. But you are well aware of that, the codes and penalties, right?

As for "the finger", that’s the whole point? You know what it means when you see it, adapted for ulterior motives. Like the “thin blue line” or the “okay” hand gesture, it can rightfully or wrongly be seen as a disguised message, hidden in a message. Just like the ‘Pueblo Crew’, in 1968, shared their hidden message in a message.

Gabe, it’s not that complex. Yes, altering the flag isn’t high on the crime list but law officers shouldn’t encourage it. Jenkins violated the code of conduct and ethics for officers. 👮 He can freely express his political views whenever he wants, just not on duty, and not in uniform. He can’t have or advocate for political symbols on uniforms, vehicles or in police buildings. Wasn’t Chuck warned in the past about having political campaigns signs in police cars? 🤷‍♂️ Hanging “the thin blue line flag” is not a law enforcement procedure but just biased politics, not allowed.

gabrielshorn2013

Wrong aw? No. From Texas v. Johnson

Facts of the case

In 1984, in front of the Dallas City Hall, Gregory Lee Johnson burned an American flag as a means of protest against Reagan administration policies. Johnson was tried and convicted under a Texas law outlawing flag desecration. He was sentenced to one year in jail and assessed a $2,000 fine. After the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reversed the conviction, the case went to the Supreme Court.

Question:

Is the desecration of an American flag, by burning or otherwise, a form of speech that is protected under the First Amendment?

In a 5-to-4 decision, the Court held that Johnson's burning of a flag was protected expression under the First Amendment. The Court found that Johnson's actions fell into the category of expressive conduct and had a distinctively political nature. The fact that an audience takes offense to certain ideas or expression, the Court found, does not justify prohibitions of speech. The Court also held that state officials did not have the authority to designate symbols to be used to communicate only limited sets of messages, noting that "[i]f there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the Government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable."

https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/491/397/

As stated above, I was not commenting on whether or not it was inappropriate (or in your opinion, illegal) to use the flag as a political statement. Mr. O'Leary stated, and I will copy it here for you again:

"This is meant to honor law enforcement officers, but the image has been adopted by white supremacist groups. As a result of this troubling association, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich said that the flag would not be displayed publicly at the police department."

You are correct. It isn't that complicated, and you are not addressing my disagreement to Mr. O’Leary’s statement. His statement was that the reason he was not allowed to display the flag is because it was adopted by racist groups. "The Thin Blue Line" is not a racist symbol as Mr. O'leary stated Mr. Elrich said.

Since you did not cite a case, I have no idea where you are getting your information. However, in a case just this year in DC, " The American Civil Liberties Union and Johnson’s lawyer Mark Goldstone on Sept. 5 urged the city to dismiss the misdemeanor disorderly conduct charges, invoking the 1989 U.S. Supreme Court decision Texas v. Johnson, which ruled that flag burning was a form of symbolic speech protected by the First Amendment." (https://www.law.com/nationallawjournal/2019/09/10/flag-burner-at-center-of-landmark-supreme-court-case-wont-face-new-charges-in-dc/)

I have already cited Texas v Johnson. After that case, Congress attempted to make it against the law to desecrate the flag. From UNITED STATES V. SHAWN D. EICHMAN, DAVID GERALD BLALOCK AND SCOTT W. TYLER, 496 U.S. 310 (1990)

Facts/Syllabus:

Congress passed the Flag Protection Act of 1989 after the Supreme Court overturned a Texas statute criminalizing the knowingly offensive destruction American flag in Texas v. Johnson. The Flag Protection Act criminalized "knowingly" mutilating, defacing, physically defiling, burning, or tampling upon an American flag. The Supreme Court found the Flag Protection Act to be unconstitutional. Although it did not contain a content-based limitation like the Texas statute did, the Government's interest in protecting the "physical integrity" of the flag in order to preserve its symbolism is related to the suppression of free expression and violates the First Amendment.

Importance of Case:

Flag burning is expressive conduct, and as a result, legislation restricting the act will be subject to strict scrutiny. The description of a symbol does not diminish its meaning.

https://www.thefire.org/first-amendment-library/decision/united-states-v-shawn-d-eichman-david-gerald-blalock-and-scott-w-tyler/

Fact #1 The "Thin Blue Line" is not a racist symbol. Never was, never will be. This was my point.

Fact #2 You cannot prosecute someone who to burns the flag, defaces the flag, uses it in art, or wears it as clothing. Sad but true. But that was not what I was arguing, and you know that.

awteam2000

Wasn’t Gregory Lee Johnson sentenced to jail for defamation of the flag in 2015, upheld by the Supreme Court? And you acknowledge the “thin blue flag” is defamation of the flag but it’s okay 👌? Gotcha.

gabrielshorn2013

No aw, it was overturned. The guy certainly was a jackass. Furthermore, On 20 June 2016, Johnson and Revolution Club members were arrested after burning the United States flag at the 2016 Republican National Convention, but the charges were unclear. In June 2019, the City of Cleveland agreed to pay Johnson $225,000 because his 2016 arrest had been determined to have violated his free speech rights. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregory_Lee_Johnson

Where on earth did I ever say it was OK to desecrate the flag? I said someone that does cannot be prosecuted for doing so. BIG difference. Where do you get this stuff? Come on aw, I can’t do all your homework for you. Do you harass those on the beach with flag towels or swimsuits? Are they OK with you?

Alice Jones

You'll defend anything, Mr. Horn. That is a white power sign. Don't be offended if I flip you off, I appropriated that to mean hello.

gabrielshorn2013

No Alice, I won't. Apparently, unlike you, I am very principled in what I will and will not defend. What is is that I posted that you don't agree with? The "Thin Blue Line" emblem was designed to support law enforcement. Do you dispute that, or are you now saying that all LEOs are racists? Wow. Are you disputing that the term OK has been around since at least 1839? Here's a link. Read. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OK. Flip me off? Go right ahead. You're number one too.

KellyAlzan

Nice spin, Gabe

gabrielshorn2013

Que Kelly?

awteam2000

👌

threecents

Gabe[thumbup][beam]

Rick Blatchford

An open question to Mr. O'Leary... You say that "As a county employee...Jenkins should not be criticizing a public official in a different jurisdiction, especially on national television." When and how did the sheriff give up his 1st Amendment rights? It's not in his oath of office, and I'm certain he signed no such document. Since you seem concerned about criticism on a "national" level, I have a list of people you might want to share your beliefs with. Let's see if you can convince Pelosi, Schumer and untold other politicians to adopt your very limiting philosophy.

KellyAlzan

Public servants do not have first amendment rights when wearing a uniform as Trumpkins was

User1

And where did you find that regulation? In the “KellyAlzan “rulebook”?

Obadiah Plainsmen

I dissent, Government employee speech is protected if it involves "matters concerning government politics that are of interest to the public at large, a subject on which public employees are uniquely qualified to comment." SCOTUS San Diego v. Roe 12/06/2004

awteam2000

I think you may have misunderstood the ruling... such as; writing on their own time on topics unrelated to their employment, a governmental employer may impose certain restraints on the speech of its employees. Also, check out the “code of ethics” for uniformed officers 👮. And don’t forget the ruling deferred to Rankin v. McPherson, 483 U.S. 378 (1987). Just sayin’.🤷‍♂️

awteam2000

Rick, sorry, you are wrong. The right of political expression while in uniform is limited.

The flag was altered not to represent all, as the US flag does but to pit members of the community against each other. It also, creates an appearance of partisanship harming credibility of the officers in the communities they serve. Not to mention disrespect for the flag. Standard uniformed ethics for police officers and those serving in the military prohibits such symbols. You would think Chuck Jenkins would know this.

https://www.justice.gov/jmd/ethics-handbook

Police departments should avoid any appearances of political bias or partisanship. There shouldn’t be any display of political symbols on their uniforms, police vehicles or displayed in precincts. Enrich made the right call.

KellyAlzan

Apparently rick didn’t see the video:

https://video.foxnews.com/v/6100398409001/#sp=show-clips

User1

How is support of another police department “political bias”? I didn’t realize that being pro law and order is “partisan”. I guess if you support anti-law and order you can say it’s difference in beliefs and morality but still NOT political.

mr_twist27

The Sheriff isn't a county employee, he is elected therefore he has the right to identify himself as the Sheriff and make political statements as to his opinion. It's no different then any other politician speaking to the media.

Dwasserba

'"It’s no business of his what happens in Montgomery County."' When Pelosi and Schumer appear, it relates to a context in which they participated.

Comment deleted.
threecents

Kelly[thumbup][beam]

niceund

Leftists think everything they don't agree with is racist and pro white supremacy. BRAVO to Sheriff Jenkins.

Alice Jones

Racism and white supremacy are soft spots for you, huh? Sorry of your delicate sensibilities are offended.

marinick1

[thumbup][thumbup]

KellyAlzan

Oh yeah baby! Love my law enforcement and love this letter!

BunnyLou

The content of this LTE is his opinion, but is not shared by most people who support police in general. The police need our support ever since Obama and Holder put targets on their backs after the Ferguson debacle.

marinick1

[thumbup][thumbup]

Dwasserba

I support "police" as a concept but view it as an employment choice. That is our Sheriff. He has responsibilities here. He doesn't moonlight for Montgomery County. Why should this particular spotlight fall on him.

DickD

He didn't down in Texas, either, Deb, but he did, even took money from FAIR to do it, while he neglected the job we pay him for, back here in Frederick County.

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