‘Thin Blue Line’ Flags Appear Across the US

July 12, 2016 Updated: July 13, 2016

Around the United States, people have been flying black, white, and blue American flags—with a single, bright blue line down the middle.

The flags are intended to express condolences to the five police officers who were shot and killed during protests in Dallas on Thursday night.

On social media, people have posted the flags:

The flag, or the “Thin Blue Line USA Flag,” is designed to represent “the officer and the courage they find deep inside when faced with insurmountable odds,” according to Flags Unlimited, an online vendor that sells the flags. It adds: “The Black background was designed as a constant reminder of our fallen brother and sister officers. The Line is what police officers protect, the barrier between anarchy and a civilized society, between order and chaos, between respect for decency and lawlessness.”

However, it could be argued that the “Thin Blue Line” flag could be seen as desecration of the American flag, according to the official U.S. Flag Code.

“The flag of the United States shall be thirteen horizontal stripes, alternate red and white; and the union of the flag shall be fifty stars, white in a blue field,” the Flag Code states.

The blog Blue Lives Matter earlier this month posted the blue line flag on its Facebook page, which prompted some to complain. Blue Lives Matter took the image down.

“On one hand, the American Thin Blue Line flag proponents said that it’s not an desecration of the American flag, because it’s a completely different flag. It’s a flag specifically to represent support for American law enforcement,” the blog said. But on the other hand, some might argue the flag is “clearly based off of the American flag, because it’s supposed to represent American law enforcement.”