Idolization of the “Thin Blue Line” flag by presumptuous police supporters in Solon barely seven months after that same flag was weaponized along with Confederate and Trump flags against Capitol Police seems more than a bit ironic.
But there’s little irony in the fact that former Solon Police Chief Robert W. Bruckner was among those who joined the Aug. 16 protest. Their target was Mayor Edward R. Kraus’ recent decision to replace the controversial flag with the original blue line flag at the Solon Police Station.
“The mayor pressured [current police Chief Richard Tonelli] to take the flag down,” Mr. Bruckner said. “It’s ridiculous that the minority is running everything. A couple people complained, and the mayor caved.”
Speaking of minorities, it is the “Black Lives Matter” movement that gave rise to the “Blue Lives Matter” rebuttal and elevation of the “Thin Blue Line” flag along with it.
Perhaps the events of Jan. 6 are lost on Mr. Bruckner and his couple dozen compatriots who demonstrated Aug. 16 along SOM Center Road. Maybe they are unaware that the insurrection in which that same flag played a prominent role resulted in the murder of one Capitol Police officer and injuries to 138 other officers. Maybe the Solon protesters who carried signs in support of former President Donald J. Trump are ignorant of the dangerous condescension that he has spewed upon the police who defended our democracy from the traitors who violently attacked the Capitol.
Lt. Michael Byrd, the Capitol Police officer who shot and killed one of the rioters invading the Capitol, and his family have been subjected to death threats from Donald Trump’s anti-police fanatics. Mr. Trump himself has claimed that the dead rioter was a martyr and absurdly suggested that it was premeditated murder.
The demonstrators who claim they were in Solon to support the police apparently do not care so much about the police who put their lives on the line to defend democracy. The signs they carried that claim “Blue Lives Matter” had nothing to do with the true blue lives that stood up to the un-American attack on the Capitol.
They probably don’t much care about the circumstances under which Mr. Bruckner “retired” as Solon police chief in 1996. It followed a series of disagreements with then-Mayor Robert A. Paulson and members of City Council. They included a series of public rebukes, the demotion of Mr. Bruckner’s right-hand man and discontinuation of the chief’s point system that encouraged officers to issue traffic tickets.
There’s little irony in Mr. Bruckner’s attack on Mayor Kraus now. He was the man behind a state audit of the expenditures for Solon’s new City Hall. His retirement coincided with the unqualified exoneration of city officials from baseless allegations.
Following Mr. Bruckner’s retirement, his name, likely inadvertently, escaped redaction from a 16,000-plus-page, multimillion-dollar investigation into public corruption in Solon. That investigation, which targeted multiple city officials and even then-U.S. Sen. and now Ohio Gov. Michael DeWine, destroyed the aspiring political career of Mr. Paulson.
Practically buried in legal expenses, Mr. Paulson eventually accepted a plea deal that resulted in probation. His big crime was using campaign funds to pay personal credit-card bills, even though he repaid the campaign before there was any hint of an investigation.
After spending millions in taxpayer money to investigate a nonexistent corruption scandal in Solon, apparently, the FBI wanted something – anything.
As the “Black Lives Matter” movement has made painfully clear, some people should not be police officers. As the brother-in-law of two police officers myself, I believe that the vast majority of them are dedicated to protecting law-abiding citizens from criminal elements.
After the Jan. 6 violent attack on police at the Capitol, it’s clear to me that the “Thin Blue Line” flag is out of place.