Flags meant to support police torn down at Palatine condos
American-style flags with a blue stripe designed to support law enforcement are back up at a Palatine condominium complex near Lake-Cook Road, replacing the original batch of 14 that authorities say was ripped down during National Police Week.
Palatine police Cmdr. William Nord said an investigation into who caused the damage continues. An examination of video and still images captured by private cameras around the Kingsbrooke subdivision has led to a potential suspect.
"They're still trying to identify the suspect and the case is still ongoing," Nord said.
Featuring alternating black-and-white stripes, stars and one blue stripe, the flag originally was created to represent police -- the Thin Blue Line -- and has been used by Blue Lives Matter organizations, a pro-law enforcement movement created in response to Black Lives Matter.
But critics say the flag's imagery has been co-opted by some white nationalist groups and should be avoided. For example, they point to the flag popping up in the violent August 2017 marches in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Public backlash erupted in Mount Prospect in February when the village introduced a new vehicle sticker that had a section of the Thin Blue Line flag as a show of support to police.
Some residents cited the white nationalist connections in demanding that Mount Prospect alter the sticker. Village officials agreed to give residents the choice of selecting the initial sticker or one redesigned to highlight the police department's community outreach and inclusion efforts.
Nord said it is not yet known why the 14 "Back the Blue" flags were ripped down and damaged in the Palatine subdivision. The flags eventually went back up on fencing off Old Hicks Road, just south of Lake-Cook and at an East Coach Road entrance.
Officers were sent to the 800 block of East Coach about 8:45 a.m. Sunday for a criminal damage to property report regarding the flags that are 3 feet tall and 5 feet wide, Nord said. He said a condominium association representative became aware of the damage that apparently occurred overnight and called authorities.
"The flags were torn down and cut by an unknown object," Nord said.
Nord said officers were told the association put up the flags in support of National Police Week, which started Sunday and runs through Saturday. He said the damaged flags were worth an estimated $100.
Kingsbrooke condominium association board President Elliott Davidow did not return messages seeking comment Wednesday and Thursday.
Meanwhile, a separate effort to publicly support Palatine officers with yard signs has been embraced by residents and businesses. Sold at cost by a nonprofit and featuring a blue badge in the middle, the sign reads: "We Support The Palatine PD. Thank You For Your Service."
At least 300 signs and 89 blue LED bulbs were sold by the Palatine PD Boosters, with the idea of displaying them during National Police Week. The signs are visible across the village, including at single-family homes near the Kingsbrooke condos and Mother Cluckers Kitchen on Northwest Highway.