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CT town declines to raise thin blue line flag, lowers Pride flag to half-mast to honor trooper killed in line of duty
Screenshot of Connecticut State Police X image

CT town declines to raise thin blue line flag, lowers Pride flag to half-mast to honor trooper killed in line of duty

Mayor claims police flag now represents 'white supremacist groups and other far-right types of groups.'

A town in Connecticut has come under fire after its council voted against raising the thin blue line flag to honor a state trooper killed in the line of duty.

On the afternoon of May 30, Trooper First Class Aaron Pelletier, 34, conducted a routine traffic stop along eastbound I-84 in Southington, about 20 miles southwest of Hartford. While he was standing on the shoulder and addressing the driver whom he had just pulled over, a pickup truck suddenly swerved onto the shoulder, swiped Pelletier's police cruiser, and then struck Pelletier before speeding away.

'Our flag policy prohibits us from doing anything associated with hate.'

Pelletier was pronounced dead at the scene. He was a nine-year veteran of the force, a husband, and the father of two children. His K-9 partner, Roso, was in the police vehicle at the time of the crash but was not injured.

Pelletier's funeral was scheduled for this past Wednesday, and Rich Bailey — a Republican member of the Wethersfield, Connecticut, town council and the son of a retired police officer — wanted his community to honor the fallen trooper. So on Monday, two days before Pelletier's funeral, Bailey proposed that the town hoist the American Blue Line flag at half-staff on Wednesday in Pelletier's memory.

"In my home, [the flag] means police, and they protect us, and they are our first line of defense," Bailey said. "They always are, and they’re always here, and they’re always for us."

His colleagues on the council disagreed, voting 5-3 against raising the police flag.

Democrat Councilman Miki Duric claimed he voted against the measure not because he has any animus against police but because municipal law requires 30 days' notice to raise a flag.

"This policy is being tested at the moment. It’s not a perfect policy," Duric said. "I think this is something we should look into. In case of emergency or things like this, we can have different approach. But that’s not what policy says at the moment."

Other Democrats on the council admitted that they view the thin blue line flag as a divisive symbol. Emily Zambrello even claimed that it represents "hate."

"It represents racism and antagonism to many, many people, and if you don’t personally believe that, and you fly at your own house and you think it means something to you, that is much more positive," she claimed. "It’s just not how many people feel about it, it’s not appropriate to raise it over our town hall, especially when our flag policy prohibits us from doing anything associated with hate."

Even Democrat Mayor Ken Lesser suggested that the police flag has been co-opted by evil-minded people. "It has now been used by white supremacist groups and other far-right types of groups," he claimed. "Even many police departments around the country and in the state of Connecticut say we don’t authorize or use that flag."

As a compromise, someone suggested flying a flag to honor all first responders, but Bailey rejected that idea, Mayor Lesser claimed.

"All we are doing is trying to respect a fallen police officer," Bailey insisted.

A prearranged Pride ceremony went on as scheduled this week but was limited in scope because of Pelletier's death. The American, POW, and Pride flags were all lowered to half-mast in his honor, according to video of the ceremony.

A suspect in the crash that killed Pelletier has been arrested. Alex Oyola-Sanchez, 44, has been assessed several serious charges, including second-degree manslaughter with a motor vehicle, evading responsibility resulting in death, driving under the influence, and failing to drive in the proper lane. He remains in custody on a $5 million bond.

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Cortney Weil

Cortney Weil

Sr. Editor, News

Cortney Weil is a senior editor for Blaze News.
@cortneyweil →