Oregon: County pays employee $100K over Blue Lives Matter flag – Lawsuit claimed flag demeaned Black Lives Matter movement

In this July 28, 2016, file photo, a flag with a blue and black stripes in support of law enforcement officers, flies at a protest by police and their supporters outside Somerville City Hall in Somerville, Mass. An Oregon county has agreed to pay $100,000 to a black employee who sued after a co-worker pinned up a "Blue Lives Matter" flag. The Oregonian/OregonLive reports Saturday, April 20, 2019, that Karimah Guion-Pledgure alleged in her January lawsuit that the flag demeans the "Black Live Matter" movement. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) 04/20 — An Oregon county has agreed to pay $100,000 to a black employee who sued alleging she was harassed after asking that a Blue Lives Matter flag not be displayed in the office.

Karimah Guion-Pledgure said in her January lawsuit against Multnomah County that the flag demeans the Black Lives Matter movement, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported Saturday. She said she was harassed by others in the office after she and other black co-workers complained.

The settlement, reached Thursday, was first reported by Portland’s alternative bi-weekly newspaper, The Portland Mercury.

Black Lives Matter is an activist movement formed in 2013 that campaigns against violence and systemic racism toward black people.

Proponents of Blue Lives Matter say it’s meant to support and honor the work and sacrifices of law enforcement officers. The Blue Lives Matter flag is a black-and-white American flag with a blue stripe replacing one white stripe in the middle. Thin Blue Line USA, which sells the flags, says the thin blue line represents offices in the line of duty and the black represents fallen officers.

Guion-Pledgure’s lawsuit said the Blue Lives Matter movement “co-opts” the Black Lives Matter movement and “repurposes it to shift focus to law enforcement — a chosen profession, not a racial identity — and thus denigrates, dilutes, and demeans the purpose of the Black Lives Matter movement.”

About a month before the probation officer put up the Blue Lives Matter flag in 2017, white supremacist demonstrators displayed that same flag alongside Confederate flags during a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, the lawsuit notes.

One person died and dozens of others were injured when a man deliberately rammed his car into the crowd of counter-protesters. Members of Blue Lives Matter condemned the use of their flag at the rally.

After the probation officer’s flag had been on the wall for more than six months, Guion-Pledgure erected an “equity wall” that displayed photos of minorities killed by police, the suit stated.

Managers told her to take down the photos, the lawsuit says, but she refused because the Blue Lives Matter flag remained.

That same day, Guion-Pledgure found two sticky notes affixed to her equity wall reading “Thanks a lot” and “Bitch,” according to the lawsuit.

Guion-Pledgure alleged that her supervisor in the Department of Community Justice didn’t require the flag to be taken down and the conflict caused her extreme stress and health issues.

A week later, managers responded with a new rule that all personal photos displayed needed to be smaller than 5-by-7 inches (13-by-18 centimeters), according to the suit.

Managers are now developing a countywide policy on personal displays of photos and other items in response to the lawsuit, said Multnomah County spokeswoman Jessica Morkert-Shibley.

As part of the agreement, Guion-Pledgure had to resign by Friday but can reapply for a county job.

“She’s disappointed that she has to leave there and that they couldn’t make it a safe and welcoming work environment,” said her attorney, Ashlee Albies. “They say they’re working on that, and we hope they really are.”

Guion-Pledgure had worked for the department since 2011 as a corrections technician.

She originally sought $420,000 in the lawsuit.

https://www.apnews.com/241443b1c69a48c1824f043517b5197a

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Posted in: Abuse, Black Lives Matter, Harassment, Lawsuits, Police, Policies & Practices, Racial Issues

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2 × five =

Terms of Use for Posting Comments

Terms of Use

This site (the “Site”) is operated and maintained by Law Enforcement Education Foundation, Corporation (“Company”). Throughout the Site, the terms “we”, “us” and “our” refer to Company.  The words “user,” “you” and “your” as used herein refer to you.

Please read these terms and conditions of use (“Terms of Use”) carefully before contributing content. If you do not agree to these Terms of Use, please do not contribute content. Your use of the Site is subject to the Terms and Conditions found here .

By contributing content to the Site, you represent and warrant that you are at least eighteen (18) years old and that you have read and understand these Terms of Use and any amendments thereto and agree to be bound by them. If you are not at least eighteen (18) years old or you do not agree and accept these Terms of Use, you are prohibited from contributing content.

From time to time, we may permit users to submit content to the Site.  You hereby acknowledge and agree that by submitting remarks, comments, suggestions, ideas, graphics, feedback, edits, concepts, comments, photographs, illustrations and other materials (other than personal information and/or registration information) through the Site (individually and collectively, “Submissions”), you (i) grant us a nonexclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, transferable, irrevocable and fully sub-licensable right to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, translate, distribute, publish, create derivative works from and publicly display and perform such Submissions throughout the world in any media, now known or hereafter created, without attribution to you; (ii) grant us the right to pursue at law any person or entity that violates your and/or our rights in your Submissions; and (iii) forever waive any and all of your rights, including but not limited to moral rights, if any, in and to your Submissions, including, without limitation, any all rights or requirements of attribution or identification of you as the author of the Submission or any derivative thereof.  We reserve the right to remove any of your Submissions from the Site, in whole or in part, without notice to you, for any reason or no reason.

Submissions are made voluntarily. Any submissions which include personally identifiable information are subject to our Privacy Policy found here .  You may not upload or otherwise publish content on the Site that (i) is confidential to you or any third party; (ii) is untrue, inaccurate, false or other than an original work of your authorship; (iii) that relates to or impersonates any other person; (iv) violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property rights of any person or entity; (v) contains any content, personally identifiable information or other information, or materials of any kind that relate or refer to any other person or entity other than the provider of the products, goods or services to which the Submission relates; or (vi) violates any law, or in any manner infringes or interferes with the rights of others, including but not limited to the use of names, information, or materials that (A) libel, defame, or invade the privacy of any third party, (B) are obscene or pornographic, (C) are harmful, threatening, offensive, abusive, harassing, vulgar, false or inaccurate, racially, sexually, ethnically or are otherwise objectionable or otherwise contrary to the laws of any place where such Submissions may be accessed; (D) constitute personal attacks on other individuals; (E) promote criminal, immoral or illegal activity; (F) promote or advertise any person, product or service or solicit funds; or (G) are deemed confidential by any contract or policy.

You are solely responsible for any Submissions you make and their accuracy. We take no responsibility and assume no liability for any Submissions posted by you or any third party.

Unless approved by us in writing in advance, you agree not to: (i) provide or create a link to the Site; or (ii) create any frames at any other sites pertaining to any of the content located on the Site.

We reserve the right, in our discretion, to update, change or replace any part of these Terms of Use for Posting Comments by posting updates and/or changes to our Site.  It is your responsibility to check this page periodically for changes.  Your continued use of, and/or access to the Site, following the posting of any changes to these Terms of Use for Posting Comments, constitutes your acceptance of those changes.