A Massachusetts mayor has refused to remove a Black Lives Matter banner from City Hall at the request of the local police union. The banner features the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter and has been hanging from Somerville City Hall since August 2015.
According to USA Today, the Somerville Police Employee’s Association recently published a letter to Mayor Joseph Curtatone asking for the banner to be removed and replaced with an “All Lives Matter” banner.
“It is inconceivable to us as it is demoralizing that our city would propagate its support for this movement while standing silent over the seemingly daily protest assassinations of innocent police officers around the country,” said Michael McGrath, the union’s president.
But the mayor, although sympathetic to the recent killings of police around the country, is not taking down or replacing the sign.
“My unwavering support for our police officers does not and cannot preempt our commitment addressing systemic racism in our nation,” Curtatone said in a statement. “The City of Somerville stands against all violence and all injustice, which is why a Black Lives Matter banner hangs at City Hall and why a banner in honor of the slain officers is hanging at Somerville Police Headquarters where it would provide the most moral support to our officers—both on my order.”
And it seems that not all police in the town necessarily feel the same way as the union. Somerville Police Chief David Fallon said he is “100 percent behind” the mayor’s decision. “We support the city’s initiatives,” Fallon said.
He also said the mayor has always been a “staunch supporter” of the Police Department as well as a supporter of human rights. USA Today reports that the chief said he would like to facilitate a sit-down with the mayor, the union president and members of the Police Department to have a “serious and effective” discussion regarding the banner.
Read more at USA Today.