‘Blue line’ returns to street — Flemington chief calls it vandalism
FLEMINGTON — The “thin blue line” that the borough mayor ordered removed from Main Street was repainted by a vandal early on Tuesday morning, police Chief Jerry Rotella told NJ.com.
Mayor Betsy Driver had the line, which was originally painted in October 2016, removed in June after she said many Black residents told her they saw it not as support for police but as opposition to their experience.
"That we would have any type of symbol that makes residents and visitors uncomfortable is shameful and divisive," Driver said on her personal Facebook account at the time.
The line was painted over by a public works crew just before a Black Lives Matter protest attended by 1,500 people.
A woman then re-painted a small section of the traffic line in front of police headquarters. Police shared pictures of the woman on their Facebook page but the woman was never located.
The line returned during the early morning hours on Tuesday, Rotella told New Jersey 101.5. By mid-morning, the 15-20 foot line was again painted over, Rotella told NJ.com. Surveillance video shows a man as the culprit.
The chief told NJ.com the latest appearance of the line was "an act of vandalism" and said someone wanting to show their appreciation for the law just needs to say "thank you."
Rotella on Friday afternoon did not respond to New Jersey 101.5's request for more information.
The Thin Blue Line on flags and masks have come under attack around New Jersey over the summer.
Fair Lawn police were told not to wear their masks with Thin Blue Line flags during Sept. 11 ceremonies because Mayor Kurt Peluso wanted the community to rally around one flag.
Robbinsville resident Melissa Reilly started an online petition to have the blue-line flag removed from the front of the municipal complex because "it is a controversial and divisive symbol opposing the Black Lives Matter movement, and one that has no place in our municipal complex."
Hackettstown Mayor Maria DiGiovanni blamed poor timing for an announcement on Juneteenth, the celebration of emancipation, that a blue line intended to support law enforcement had been re-painted in front of the township's police headquarters.