‘Thin Blue Line’ Flag Sparks Debate in Sacramento Region

DAVIS -- As the Davis community mourns the death of Officer Natalie Corona's death, what she is holding in a widely circulated photo has sparked a debate.

Many members of the law enforcement community and their supporters say the "Thin Blue Line" flag is a symbol of service and sacrifice.

Others say they see the flag as racist.

"It's like losing a part of your family," Sacramento County Deputy Sheriff's Association spokesman Sergeant Kevin Mickelson said of Officer Corona's death.

Investigators say Corona was ambushed by 48-year-old Kevin Limbaugh as she was responding to a car accident in downtown Davis. Limbaugh later died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

After her death, a photo of Corona holding a "Thin Blue Line" flag was widely circulated on social media.

"The flag represents, to law enforcement, it's a tribute and remembrance to those officers killed in the line of duty," Mickelson said.

But in a recent Facebook post, the UC Davis student-run Ethnic and Cultural Affairs Commission called the flag "anti-Black" and disrespectful, as it's often used as a symbol for the "Blue Lives Matter" movement.

"The whole reason we have a problem with the (Blue Lives Matter) movement is because, number one, it’s co-opting our name," Tanya Faison, founder of the Sacramento chapter of Black Lives Matter told FOX40. "It was kind of created to kind of counter the fact that black lives matter, it was to say that blue lives matter more than black lives."

In a blog post, Black Lives Matter came out against the symbolism of the flag.

"It is built on racism and it is an anti-black movement," Faison said.

One of the flags was stolen, police say, from a growing memorial for Corona in Davis.

The original post from the UC Davis Ethnic and Cultural Affairs Commission has since been deleted, but it struck a nerve with Mickelson.

“It’s ridiculous, number one. Number two, I think people are trying to make something about them. It’s not about them, it’s about a fallen officer," he said.

Mickelson says the flag is simply a way to honor police officers, particularly those who have died in the line of duty.

Since publishing the blog post about the flag, Black Lives Matter says it has gotten several racist messages and death threats.

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