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“Racist” thin blue line flag prompts the library to apologize

EVANSTON, IL – Evanston Public Library officials apologized Thursday for “racist images” in a book display promoting an upcoming seminar.

As part of the signage plans for the one-on-one mini-course “Police Reform: Progress and Pitfalls” from the 2nd Blue Line “flag.

“We acknowledge the damage this image has wrought in our community, especially those who identify as blacks, indigenous peoples or POCs,” library officials said in a statement. “The library strives to identify, understand, and correct our past and present injustices, and to develop anti-racist policies and procedures that promote justice.”

The Thin Blue Line flag was created by a college student in 2014 after killing two New York police officers on duty. That student, Andrew Jacob, now president of an online retailer dedicated to selling pro-police items, told the Marshall Project last year that the flag is not associated with racism or bigotry.

“It’s a flag to aid law enforcement – not a political role,” Jacob said.

The “Thin Blue Line” flag consists of an American flag – with black and white colors compared to red, white and blue – with the exception of a blue stripe in the middle, which lawyers say should aid law enforcement. Critics say it represents white supremacy. (Getty Images)

Related: Thin blue line flags removed from suburban police uniforms

criticism battle the symbol displayed by extremists at gatherings such as the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, represents white supremacy.

Controversy over the inclusion of the symbol on the Mount Prospect Police Department’s badge resulted in a 4-3 vote by the village council in August to remove the flag.

“How a symbol representing a memorial to police officers killed in the service of their community can become a symbol of hatred goes against logic,” Mount Prospect Police Chief John Koziol said before the vote.

In Evanston, the sign was posted on the second floor of the library’s main branch on Friday and removed on Monday, according to a library spokesman.

“We hereby undertake,” the library continued to apologize, “to develop a system for a more sensitive review of signs, programs, collections, guidelines and draft procedures for potentially offensive images before they are included in displays.”

On November 2nd, the free mini-course exam in connection with the police reform of the library will take place from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. using video teleconferencing software. Further information and registration are available online.

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