The Laguna Beach City Council voted Tuesday evening to keep new USA-themed decals on police cars after hearing passionate testimony from residents during the meeting.
The controversy began for the southern California beach community in February, when the new graphic began appearing on patrol vehicles. A minority of residents complained to the city council that the flag imagery was offensive.
Mayor Steve Dicterow introduced the discussion Tuesday saying that he had received more emails on the decal issue than any other issue during his tenure in Laguna Beach government. He cautioned speakers to limit their remarks since the line of residents who wanted speak went out the door. The crowd included several veterans.
“If there are people who are offended by the stars and stripes, my guess is that they have never fought to preserve them,” said a WWII veteran.
At one point during the meeting, the crowd spontaneously sang the Star Spangled Banner.
BREAKING: What a moment here in #LagunaBeach, where a woman speaking in support of new USA police decals starts singing the Star Spangled Banner (very well!) and then everyone in the room joined in! @FOXLA pic.twitter.com/hCNy1OxaUA
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) April 17, 2019
There was also testimony from opponents. One resident said the design scheme was “aggressive,” while another saw the word “ICE” in “POLICE” and said that “people who look different, but are American citizens” would feel “bullied” by the artwork.
“We are a rainbow-wearing, avocado eating, art loving beach community, and inclusion is part of that,” another resident testified. “We are not including our Hispanic community with the word “ICE” on our police cars.”
The meeting, which was videotaped, concluded with a 4-1 vote to keep the artwork. (RELATED: CNN Mocks Trump For Hugging American Flag At CPAC)
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