DAVIS (CBS13) — Controversy is brewing over a picture of slain Davis police officer Natalie Corona and the flag she’s seen honoring two years before she was shot and killed in the line of duty.
The picture which has been shared across the country, shows Officer Corona waving a Thin Blue Line Flag to honor fallen law enforcement, but some groups say the flag is insensitive to people of color, even racist. Meanwhile, those in support of the picture and the flag say its meaning is being twisted, which they say is another tragedy.
Retired Las Vegas Metro Lt. Randy Sutton said, “The makeup of the Thin Blue Line which that flag represents, represents all of America. It represents white people, black people, Hispanic people, females, males, gays, transexuals.”
But, for some groups of people, the flag itself is a controversial one.
Tanya Faison, founder of Black Lives Matter Sacramento said, “There are definitely a lot of racial undertones.”
Faison says the Thin Blue Line Flag, along with the Blue Lives Matter movement, are a direct response and attack on the Black Lives Matter movement.
“I mean, people yell this at us and then in the same sentence call us thieves, call us criminals, call us leeches off the system, tell us to get jobs. So, basically it’s a new version of the Confederate flag,” said Faison.
Randy Sutton is a retired law enforcement lieutenants and calls the flag backlash insulting and devastating.
“This is reprehensible,” said Sutton, “while police officers and families are mourning the death of this woman, they put a bounty put on Thin Blue Line Flags.”
Friday, in a since-deleted Facebook post, a student group at UC Davis stated the meaning behind the photo of Officer Corona was “racist” and said “an increased police presence can be triggering to many Black and Brown people.”
On Monday, Black Lives Matter Sacramento posted it was “taking donations of Blue Lives Matter flags acquired on the streets…” Faison told CBS13 the group wanted the flags for a future art piece.
“People have chosen a side and that’s what’s going on,” said Faison.
Many others argue there shouldn’t be a side when it comes to displaying a flag that honors a fallen law enforcement officer.
Sutton said, “The claim that this is racist, it’s absurd. What it shows is their lack of compassion, it shows their lack of dignity. It shows that they don’t even have a grasp of the reality of what the Thin Blue Line flag is.”
A separate UC Davis group came out criticizing the message of some of its peers on Facebook.
Everyone we interviewed for this story agreed Officer Corona’s death is a tragedy and say they their sympathies are with her family.