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The father of an Ohio police chief who was killed in a nursing home shooting has been told by his local homeowners association that he must stop flying a Thin Blue Line flag outside of his home.
Thomas DiSario, a disabled veteran and the father of slain officer Steven Eric DiSario, told WCMH-TV this week that his HOA recently told him to remove a Thin Blue Line flag he sometimes flies in front of his home. Additionally, DiSario says he had to call the police after someone from the HOA attempted to remove the flag from his property.
“The political sign in the form of a flag must be removed from your property,” the letter dated Friday to DiSario from the Omni Community Association Managers said. “The flag on your pole is not a United States Flag. It is a political statement. Please remove the flag from your property.”
Steven Eric DiSario, a police chief in Kirkersville, Ohio, and a father of six with another child on the way, was shot and killed in 2017 while responding to a call at the Pine Kirk Care Center. A gunman at the scene also murdered two employees before turning the gun on himself.
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“He was answering a call in Kirkersville, and he was shot and murdered as he got there. So, he didn’t even know it was coming,” Thomas DiSario said.
The Thin Blue Line flag was a gift from DiSario’s police colleagues to his father.
“It’s been flying since the 12th of May 2017,” Thomas DiSario said. “The only time it comes down [is] if it’s worn out and I buy a new one and put it back up.”
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David Dye, president of the Omni Community Association Managers, told WCMH-TV that the man at DiSario’s home was not affiliated with his group but said DiSario’s neighborhood has deed restrictions in place from when the community was developed that must be followed.
“They bought into the community with rules,” Dye said. “He agreed by buying in this community that he can’t display what he wants to display.”
Dye added that the homeowners association received a complaint about the flag.
DiSario has continued to fly the flag this week, which is recognized in the United States as National Police Week and does not believe he has offended anyone.
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“I spent 23 years in the military, and there’s no way shape or form that flag is being flown disrespectful at all,” he said. “It has a 4×6 American flag above it, and the police flag is a 3×5 below it. It is no bigger than the top flag.”
The National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), the world’s largest organization of law enforcement officers, counted 101 officers shot in the line of duty as of April 1, including 17 fatally, so far in 2022.
The latest figure marks a 43% increase compared to the number of officers shot at the same time period in 2021 and a 63% increase compared to 2020, FOP reports.
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“We are in the midst of a real crisis. The violence directed at law enforcement officers is unlike anything I’ve seen in my 36 years of law enforcement,” National FOP President Patrick Yoes said in a Friday statement. “Last year was one of the most dangerous years for law enforcement, with more officers shot in the line of duty since the National Fraternal Order of Police began recording this data.”
Fox News’ Audrey Conklin contributed to this report