inside sources print logo
Get up to date Delaware Valley news in your inbox

Police, Springfield Township Agree to Injunction on Thin Blue Line Flag Ban

After police filed a lawsuit over Springfield Township’s ban on the thin blue line American flag symbol, the township has agreed to an injunction. As a result, the ban will not take effect.

The Fraternal Order of Police Pennsylvania Lodge, the Springfield Township Police Benevolent Association, and three officers filed the suit against the township and its board of commissioners individually.

The plaintiffs asked a judge for an emergency temporary restraining order, followed by an injunction, so they can keep the flag. Officers feared retaliation, including losing their jobs, if they did not comply with the resolution. Federal Judge Karen Marston issued an order on Wednesday after both sides agreed to the injunction.

“We are very pleased,” said Wally Zimolong, attorney for the police. “The resolution is blatantly unconstitutional as re-enforced by decades of Supreme Court precedent. But it is unfortunate that it took a federal lawsuit to halt its implementation.”

On Jan. 11, the board voted 5-2 to ban the display of the flag on township property, from police uniforms, or on their bodies (tattoos) while on duty, and on any township property in the Montgomery County community.

The PBA uses the thin blue line American flag as its logo.

While the thin blue line flag is widely recognized as a symbol of support for police, especially for fallen officers, some say it symbolizes hate or oppression. And some white supremacist groups have flown the flag as well.

Residents espoused both sides of the issue during discussions at township meetings, but those who opposed the flag carried the day.

In the lawsuit, the police claimed the township’s ban is a violation of their First Amendment right to free speech and also their Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection under the law.

The ban is” blatantly unconstitutional,” the suit said. “It defiles bedrock First Amendment principles reiterated by a legion of Supreme Court cases.”

“These First Amendment protections are not diluted for speech that some might find offensive, distasteful, or controversial,” the suit said. And governments, including municipal governments, cannot ban speech.

“The Thin Blue Line flag is clearly entitled to First Amendment protection,” the suit argues. “Flags have been used to convey messages from almost the beginning of civilization. The Thin Blue Line flag is no different. Less than a year ago, the Third Circuit recognized that it carries and expresses a political, social, cultural, and symbolic meaning (in a case out of Boston).”

“The Thin Blue Line flag has come to represent a show of support for and solidarity with members of law enforcement, which includes police officers. Through a resolution at its national conference, the Fraternal Order of Police have affirmed its support for the use of the Thin Blue Line flag by law enforcement and the communities they protect,” according to the suit.

The Pennsylvania FOP “believes that the Thin Blue Line flag represents the preservation of the rule of law, the protection of peace and freedom, the sacrifice of fallen law enforcement officers and the dedication of law enforcement officers.”

The Springfield PBA also believes that the Thin Blue Line flag represents the same things.

Springfield PBA displays this logo on its website and “it displays the logo at fundraisers, events supporting Springfield PBA, and merchandise.”

“Moreover, its members display, depict, install, affix, or use the Thin Blue Line flag on pins, buttons, articles of clothing, and items affixed to personal belongings, such as bumper stickers and patches. Many members of the Springfield PBA wear a rubber replacement wedding ring that displays and depicts the Thin Blue Line flag,” the suit said.

Also, “defendants do not hide that at least one of their motivations for banning the Thin Blue Line flag is because it “represent[s] opposition to racial justice movements, including the Black Lives Matter cause.”

“That certain members of the public may view the Thin Blue Line flag negatively scarcely helps the constitutionality of the (Springfield) resolution. If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable,” the suit notes.

Asked to comment, Commissioners President James Lee declined, instead referring to the video of the BOC meeting where the resolution was adopted.

Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or

Law Enforcement Affronted by Thin Blue Line Flag Removal

In his years 55 years in law enforcement no one ever said they wanted to become a police officer to shoot someone, said Mike Chitwood.

Whenever he interviewed an applicant for the police force, he asked them why they want to be a police officer. Almost all said it was to help people, said Chitwood, the former Upper Darby police chief.

In a speech Monday for the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President Joe Biden said, “We have to retrain cops. Why should you always shoot with deadly force? The cat is, if you need to use your weapon, you don’t have to do that.”

Chitwood defended the practice, saying it was necessary to shoot to kill an armed attacker for an officer’s protection.

All officers are trained to use deadly force, he said.

“If you need to defend your life or someone else’s, you use deadly force,” said Chitwood. Otherwise, officers are likely to be killed or seriously injured themselves. “You don’t try to shoot someone in the hand,” he said.

Biden’s remarks are the latest blow to law enforcement officers, who seem to be under siege across the country and in the Delaware Valley.

Last week, in Springfield Township, Montgomery County, the township commissioners voted to ban the thin blue line flag– which represents law enforcement protecting the community and honors fallen officers–from township premises, including not allowing any tattoos to be visible during work hours. Critics of the symbol say that some white supremacists have adopted it therefore it’s offensive.

However, the thin blue line American flag is a symbol used by the Springfield Police Benevolent Association (PBA), which twice voted to keep it after being approached by the commissioners and asked to change their logo.

Springfield BOC President James Lee did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday. A lawyer representing the PBA also could not be reached, and the PBA did not respond to requests for comment.

Days later, the Los Angeles police chief also banned the thin blue line flag after just one person complained.

Tom Hogan, a former Chester County prosecutor, said, “There was a war on cops. It is mostly over. The other side won. It will take about a decade to begin to recover. Welcome back to the ‘70s.”

Frank Clayton, a retired Trenton detective, said on Facebook after the Springfield vote, “I am so offended…It will never end. They let the genie out of the bottle.”

The former Yeadon police chief, Anthony “Chachi” Paparo, said, “It’s a symbol of camaraderie amongst the police. It’s a cherished symbol amongst the police. It’s an identifier for us. At the end of the day, it’s sad. We’re losing humanity among ourselves. There‘s much more to be worried about than taking a flag away. We need to bring humanity back into our lives.”

Chitwood called the removal of the thin blue flag “a disgrace.”

“There is nothing racist about that flag,” Chitwood said. “It shows support for the police. Look at the number of officers shot, and (they’ve) got to cancel that flag? It’s an absolute disgrace.”

In the U.S., 229 officers died in the line of duty in 2022 and 669 in 2021, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page. 

Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or

GIORDANO: Attack on Cops in Springfield Is Just the Beginning

County Commissioners Chair Dr. Valerie Arkoosh announced last week she is leaving Montco to head the Human Services Department in Gov.-elect Josh Shapiro’s new administration.

I have said for many years she perfectly orchestrated the progressive policy changes that are appearing across the Philadelphia suburbs. It was certainly not meant as a compliment.

She clearly showed her ideology and tactics during COVID. She sent up a “snitch” line to report businesses that were not following her severe masking restrictions. She also shut down all schools in Montgomery County for an extended time after the Thanksgiving holidays (in 2020) without any evidence of a surge in COVID infections.

Arkoosh’s policies show Montgomery County has become Little Philadelphia. This fact played out last week in Springfield Township, a bedroom community bordering Philadelphia that now mirrors the woke insanity of the dysfunctional city. My theory is the more educated and affluent liberals escaped Philadelphia due to crime, high taxes, and lousy schools.

After a bitter debate, township commissioners voted 5 to 2 to ban the Thin Blue Line American Flag on the township’s property or even visibly on the skin of any township employees while on duty. The rationale was that some township residents feel that flag has been usurped by white supremacist groups and appeared to them to support the systemic oppression of certain members of the community. I heard some residents cite a survey that some community members of color did not trust the police.

What do cops say about this? I attended the commissioners’ meeting when the vote occurred, and the cops and their supporters were outraged and hurt by this nonsense.

How the progressive movement’s leaders slurred cops at the meeting reminded me of a woman’s pottery class from Santa Fe that was visiting suburban Philadelphia. For them, this was a great moment of virtue signaling.

In the aftermath of this vote, I interviewed Sean Cullen, solicitor to the Police Chiefs Association of Montgomery County. We discussed how this flag banning will spread to the rest of suburban Philadelphia. The Thin Blue Line Flag sends the message that police are putting their lives on the line daily to protect us against anarchy. How many professions can make that claim?

What happened last week in Montco is why many places are having trouble recruiting police officers. The cops have long recognized that Philadelphia and Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, along with progressive mayoral candidate Helen Gym, don’t have their backs. Instead, they have their figurative knives out to backstab the cops.

The Springfield vote indicates that the same mentality is starting to take root in the suburbs.

The other disturbing trend here is if a small group of people has a feeling or perception that some symbol is hateful or harmful to them, then that’s all that matters. This is a prominent mantra of progressives.

A case in point: Villanova University was recently in full meltdown mode when police officers at the Law Enforcement Run for Special Olympics Pennsylvania carried the Thin Blue Line Flag. Emergency meetings were called and counselors were made available to talk out the feelings triggered.

The administration reminded everyone, “ We are all in this together.” My response is no, you’re not. You are not supportive of the police. You are making a hard job almost impossible.

However, endorsing the good that comes from this symbol does not excuse all police behavior.

It merely states an objective message that every town should embrace: The police and their thin blue line protect us all from anarchy, crime, and chaos.

Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or

Springfield Commissioners Ban Thin Blue Line Logo From Township Premises

After hours of public comment Wednesday night, the Springfield Township Board of Commissioners voted 5-2 to approve a resolution banning the “thin blue line on an American flag” that the township’s Police Benevolent Association (PBA) has adopted as a symbol. Critics call the image, widely used at public events to honor fallen police officers, a “symbol of white supremacy.”

That argument carried the day.

The thin blue line cannot be seen on township property, on police uniforms, or on their bodies (tattoos) while on duty, or on township property in the Montgomery County town.

The issue has roiled the township for a year and a half according to Board President James Lee, who said his father was a Philadelphia police inspector. Commissioners asked the PBA to change its symbol. The police union twice voted against altering it. And because the PBA is a “private entity,” the township cannot make it change its logo.

While many believe the symbol honors police, some people, particularly minorities, find it offensive, Lee said. And some extremist groups have adopted it as well.


From a Back the Blue rally in Erie, Pa.


During public comment, Liza Meiris of the Cheltenham NAACP said fighting racism “is hard work” that can be dangerous and that people have lost their lives. But she urged the board to “disavow a symbol of white supremacy and do the right thing.”

Resident Neil DiFranco, a member of the township school board, said he appreciates what the police do to protect the community, but the resolution is necessary because of how the symbol makes some people feel. He said at the Monday night commissioner’s workshop session, “I heard racist comments and that scares me.”

A woman read a letter on behalf of her husband, who could not attend, noting that the resolution is unconstitutional and violates the First Amendment rights of free speech.

“It’s not the duty of a government body to censor speech,” she said. The Supreme Court recognized that hate symbols might be suppressed on public property, but the thin blue line flag is not a recognized hate symbol.

From a Back the Blue rally hosted by the town of Bensalem, Pa.

Many Delaware Valley communities have a very different view of the symbol. In 2020, the town of Bensalem hosted a Back the Blue rally that featured the flag rejected by Springfield. Attendees included Mayor Joseph DiGirolamo, Council President Ed Kisselback, and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R).

John English said that when an officer was killed in the line of duty, his kids put a blue heart in the family’s window with the thin blue line.

“My house is now targeted,” said English. “I am looked down upon. My family is looked upon as white supremacists. And to use that term so loosely in this society is disgusting. It’s vile. These are the vilest people on earth and this is what you’re comparing people to.”

A man who has been a police officer for 33 years and served as a firefighter and in the military was also upset.

The township has spent $20,000 on this “needless” issue, he said.

“Unless you’ve stood in the shoes of a police officer, you really don’t know what we do,” he said. Most officers are good, although he acknowledged there are a few who are not. “Nobody goes to work wanting to kill anybody,” he said. The summer of 2020 “was the busiest summer I have had, having rocks and bottles thrown at me, being called names, watching buildings burn down that had people’s apartments above them, stores looted, under the color of BLM…You are asserting every time you see the thin blue line flag that person is a racist. That doesn’t make it racist…Because I support that flag it is not a MAGA event. It’s a morale issue for police. It’s freedom of speech.”

Commissioner Peter Wilson said, “We have extended numerous opportunities for compromise with the PBA. They’ve been rebuffed…These symbols cannot be allowed to exist if they cause offense to anyone in our community.”

Commissioner Eddie Graham said he grew up in Philadelphia and had “different experiences with the police department” than some of the others.

“I think it’s a small step in making this community come together,” said Graham. “I hope this can be a small step in making our township unified.”

Commissioner Jonathan Copp, who along with Commissioner Mike Maxwell voted against the resolution, said the resolution is “antagonistic” and it “further divides us.”

The PBA did not respond to a request for comment.

Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or

Residents Shocked, Afraid at Road Rage Murder in Springfield Township

Gunfire cut through the sound of rush hour traffic Wednesday morning on South State Road near Washington Lane in Springfield Township.

An apparent road rage shooting that took the life of a 54-year-old man also took the suburban area’s sense of safety and normalcy, shocking residents of the Delaware County bedroom community.

Bystanders told police the victim was killed for driving too slowly in the left lane. Officers responding found a white Toyota with a bullet hole in the windshield and the body of the victim, Kim Hua, according to an affidavit. Hua’s wife was a passenger and witnessed the shooting.

Hua was pronounced dead at Crozer-Chester Medical Center. The cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head, the affidavit said. Investigators found two 9mm shell casings at the scene.

Witnesses said a dark SUV driven by a woman had pulled to the side of the road. A male leaned out of the passenger window and fired at the Toyota.

Officers arrested Saddiq Washington, 22, of Darby on Friday. He is being held on first and third-degree murder charges, possession of an instrument of crime, and reckless endangerment according to the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office.

Residents who spoke to the Delaware Valley Journal were distraught over the senseless shooting.

“Every time I look at the paper and see something like that I’m shocked. I’ve lived a long time and… this is the worst I’ve seen in decades,” said Maurice Eldridge.

Some were concerned that the violence spike hitting Philadelphia could be reaching into the suburbs. One woman said, “I think [the crime spike in Philadelphia] is definitely having an effect on things.”

“I don’t really think it’s the crime spike in Philadelphia truthfully. I think it’s absurd how little we’re doing for gun control in this country,” said resident Susan R. “Congress has finally passed something but if we don’t start doing more we’re going to keep seeing more and more of this senseless violence.”

Cynthia Weiss, another resident, said she was devastated by this most recent incident.

“It’s a scary thing. I think it’s going to continue to happen as long as angry and disturbed people have such easy access to guns. It needs to change,” Weiss said.

At a press conference Friday, District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer praised the work of the officers and detectives for making an arrest within 48 hours of the shooting. He also thanked the public for coming forward with tips.

“This was a senseless brutal act,” Stollsteimer said.

The suspect, Washington, had a permit to carry a concealed weapon and had purchased the gun legally.  The woman driving the car was the defendant’s mother, Stollsteimer said. She is under investigation. No charges have been filed against her.

Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or



Veterans of America’s Wars Know The ‘True Meaning’ of Memorial Day

Marsha Four still remembers the harsh rule.

All fallen soldiers were to remain outside the confines of the 18th Surgical Hospital, which was located south of the Demilitarized Zone. Because the bodies of dead American soldiers were presumed booby-trapped by the enemy, that cruel protocol was meant to save the lives of the other wounded soldiers who were hauled into the inflatable, rubber-tubed medical facility from the battlefields of Vietnam.

Nursing school didn’t prepare Four, now 75, for the horrors she witnessed as an Army nurse in the Vietnam War. She graduated from St. Vincent School of Nursing in Indianapolis in 1968 and was sent overseas a year later, serving in that fast-paced and dangerous environment until 1970.

“If you can kill one GI, why not take out 15 in an emergency room?” Four said. “We had to be very cognizant of that. … You never knew what you were going to face around the corner.”

For her tour of duty in one of the nation’s most unpopular wars, Four earned the Bronze Star and went on to have a successful career stateside in the medical field.

Over three decades, she earned a reputation as a tireless advocate for veterans issues, helping launch the annual Philadelphia Stand Down event and serving as director of services for homeless veterans at the Philadelphia Veterans Multi-Service & Education Center. She eventually became the nonprofit’s executive director until retiring.

In recognition of her advocacy, Four was named grand marshal of this year’s Radnor Memorial Day Parade. She will ride with her son, Christopher, a lieutenant in the Radnor Police department.

“I know it really only has one true meaning,” Four said of Memorial Day. “It’s the day we give respect and honor to those who sacrificed their lives in defense of this country. If we forget what they have done, we have lost a belief in the strength that we have as a nation. … This is a pretty sacred day for all veterans.”

Born in Toledo, Ohio, Four was the oldest of seven children living a nomadic lifestyle with her father, who worked for a railroad. She remembered each time her family was uprooted and moved somewhere new, her mother told her the same thing.

“This is where you’re going to live the rest of your life, so unpack all your boxes and join an organization,” Four said.

It was advice that she took to heart when, later in life, she was drawn to the Vietnam Veterans of America and would serve for six years as the organization’s vice president.

Her calling was always nursing, as she felt fulfilled by helping others.

“It was the place I was supposed to be. It brought me great satisfaction,” she said.

Even though the Vietnam War was raging when she graduated from college, she never expected to end up overseas when she was first recruited to serve a two-year tour as a combat nurse.

“It was a very alluring [program] because we were pretty poor in school,” Four said.

She was shipped off to basic training at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, and then received her orders from the Army in 1969, boarding a plane for Southeast Asia.

“None of us could have imagined what we would face or what we would see or what we would have to do,” Four recalled.

The work was grueling, nonstop, and traumatic. A constant stream of wounded soldiers arriving at the makeshift hospital. They all had different ailments: Bullet and shrapnel wounds from artillery and booby traps, burns, blown-off limbs from stepping on mines, malaria from the bloodsucking mosquitoes in the swampy jungles.

“You learned real fast,” she said. “We became very proficient at our jobs. We had to make decisions that were not always easy to make. We knew we did as much as we all could do, and sometimes that wasn’t always enough.”

When she returned to the states, the combat nurse spent four months camping around the country with her future husband, Tony, also a Vietnam veteran, in a stripped-out Volkswagen that doubled as an RV.

The couple eventually settled in Springfield, Pa., where they raised their three sons.

Four’s medical and advocacy work afforded her opportunities to meet other Vietnam veterans, some of whom remembered her caring hands.

“A handful of times, I met people who said, ‘I knew you took care of me.’ They know you know what it was like, and I think that there is such a deep connection. In war, everyone is trying to kill each other. No matter what country you’re in, no matter what the culture, no matter what the weapons are, death is the same. The pain is the same. And the blood smells the same. And that’s the thing that all veterans of war share with each other.”

Follow us on social media:Twitter: @DV_Journal or