WARWICK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — What started as a tribute is now a controversy as residents take sides over painted lines in the northern suburbs.
Some in Warwick thought they were honoring police officers, but the town turned it into something else, and many feel it’s an insult.
As CBS2’s Lou Young reported, some folks in Warwick felt they had to draw the line and send a message. The village chose Railroad Ave for a simple tribute in blue for police, but not everyone got the same message.
“When you draw a line and it’s a blue line, somebody’s going to be upset,” Lisa Nicosia said.
Just like the blue American flags, a blue line on the street is intended — we’re told — to honor police, but have become popular mainly since the rise of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement about deaths in police custody; a kind of counter protest.
Supporters of Warwick’s blue line — home to many police families — said they saw the protests online.
“They were saying all lives matter, and showing a blue line shows that we’re just looking at the police,” Nicosia said.
The mayor of Warwick, Michael Newhard figured he had an elegant solution — add a red and white stripe and make it all-American, all-inclusive — some interpreted the change as betrayal.
“It’s a silent protest, it’s just a blue line, it shouldn’t have been changed,” Elizabeth Paris said.
“I find it kind of strange because it indicates support for the police. There’s nothing wrong with that in my opinion,” Candido Riveria said.
“It’s 2016, everybody gets offended by everything,” Emily Rose added.
“The blue line wasn’t hurting anybody. It wasn’t really doing anything. I think people are being a little too sensitive,” Dan Dagnone said.
The mayor didn’t return a request for comment, but most people didn’t seem to see the controversy.
“I guess it’s America and people can express themselves, but I know how I feel and I support it,” Pat McSpiritt said.
“The red, white, and blue represents our country and the police officers are a pretty good representation of our country, so I think I’m okay with it,” Brian Gerri added.
For now it’s red, white, and blue on Railroad Ave.
Warwick is home to many current and former members of the NYPD, a few said the blue line made them feel appreciated.