Town Council Reject Display of Blue Line Flag for Slain Officer

( – A Town Council in Connecticut has voted not to fly a “Thin Blue Line” flag, saying it represents “racism and antagonism to many people.” Republicans proposed hoisting the banner, which honors police officers and is viewed as a symbol of solidarity with law enforcement, after Trooper First Class Aaron Pelletier died in the line of duty when struck by a drunk driver. The Democrats voted instead to fly the gay pride rainbow flag, but at half-mast to mark the officer’s death.

Trooper Pelletier died during a traffic stop on Interstate 84 in Southington, Connecticut, on May 30. While standing on the highway shoulder talking to a driver and requesting that he wear a seatbelt, a passing truck veered onto the right shoulder and struck the trooper and his vehicle before speeding away. Pelletier died at the scene.

Police later arrested Alex Oyola-Sanchez and charged him with second-degree manslaughter after establishing that he had operated the vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and narcotics. Mr. Pelletier left behind a wife and two young children. At an emotional memorial service, his wife said she had lost her home, heart, safe place, provider, best friend, secret keeper, and favorite gossiper.

At the Wethersfield Town Council meeting, Republican Council Member Rich Bailey asked that the Thin Blue Line flag be flown in Pelletier’s memory, saying, “All we are doing is trying to respect a fallen police officer.” Democrat Emily Zambrello hit back, however, telling Bailey he should fly the flag at his own home because the Council is prohibited from “doing anything associated with hate.”

Wethersfield Mayor Ken Lesser voted against the proposal, saying many law enforcement departments have disavowed the flag as it became associated with “white supremacist” groups.

Meanwhile, Connecticut State Police confirmed that Trooper Pelletier’s dog, Roso, would retire from service and live with his widow and two children. Pelletier partnered with the German Shepherd for more than three years.

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