Maryland District Judge John P. Morrissey has ordered all court employees to stop wearing any apparel that displays the thin blue line logo while on the job, stating that by displaying the logo it could become ,”an issue of perceived bias.” Morrissey also added that by displaying the logo it could be perceived as showing favoritism to a particular group of people. The order applies to all court employees including bailiffs, constables, clerks, commissioners, staff, and judges in all the Maryland district courthouses.
The order came from the judge in response to a letter sent on May 4 from Maryland Public Defender Paul DeWolfe who claimed that Thin Blue Line paraphernalia created a “fair trial issue” in courtrooms across the state.
“The ‘thin blue line’ is commonly depicted as a black and white rendition of the American flag with a blue stripe running just under the stars, with the ‘thin blue line’ itself representing the belief that the police are the only thing that stands between order and chaos. It has been adopted by the ‘Blue Lives Matter’ movement, which launched in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, and has been associated at times with white supremacist groups. To allow these masks to be worn by courtroom staff during hearings and trials of our clients, a large swath of them black, denies them the appearance that their hearing is being conducted fairly and without bias.” – Paul DeWolfe
Interestingly there was no order banning employees from wearing apparel that displays support for the Black Lives Matter movement. It appears the only group that is affected is those who want to show support for the men and women in blue.
“We certainly understand what the judge is trying to accomplish here. But the concern we would have is, is this type of restriction for all advocacy groups?” – Clyde Boatwright, president of the statewide Fraternal Order of Police