In March 2017, multiple social media pages reposted an image about a Florida homeowner who was reportedly forced to remove a Blue Lives Matter flag (a symbol of a pro-police movement) from display at her home because unnamed parties had deemed it “racist”:

The incident that prompted this image was covered by Jacksonville, Florida, television station WJAX, who reported that the homeowner had asked that the neighborhood in which she lives “not be identified for fear of backlash,” and quoted her father Jeff Gaddie to provide details about the controversy:

Jeff Gaddie says the Blue Lives Matter flag has flown outside his daughter’s home in St. Johns County for years.

Recently, his daughter received a letter asking her to remove the flag, saying it doesn’t fit the rules and regulations of the homeowners association.

“She called to ask why,” Gaddie said. “They told her they had received a complaint that it was considered racist, offensive and anti-black lives matter.”

She said she was asked to submit a form for permission to fly the flag — so she sent in the request.

The request was denied.

When WJAX contacted First Coast Association Management (the HOA) to ask about the regulations in question, First Coast Association Management said that the only flags their bylaws allow to be displayed by homeowners are American and military-themed flags. We checked First Coast’s regulations, which do include wording to that effect:

Any homeowner may display one portable, removable United States flag or official flag of the State of Florida in a respectful manner, and one portable, removable official flag, in a respectful manner, not larger than 4-1/2 feet by 6 feet, which represents the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard, or a POW-MIA flag, regardless of any covenants, restrictions, bylaws, rules, or requirements of the association.

WJAX reported that they “found other flags displayed in the neighborhood,” despite the HOA restrictions.

We have contacted First Coast Association Management to verify whether they took action because they received complaints that the Blue Lives Matter flag was “racist” or whether the issue was merely a matter of non-compliance with HOA rules, but we have not yet received a response.

Similar controversies about the display of items banned by local HOAs typically involve disputes over displays of the U.S. flag, but HOA guidelines usually make exceptions for the Stars and Stripes:

Sources:

Rousseau, Beth.   “St. Johns County Homeowner Told to Take Down Blue Lives Matter Flag.”
    WJAX[TV [Jacksonville, FL].   21 March 2017.

Van Steenwyk, Jason.   “Can an HOA Prohibit Flags or Flagpoles on Properties?”
    All Property Management.   10 November 2014.

FOXNews.com.   “Blue Lives Matter Flag Deemed ‘Racist,’ Ordered to Come Down.”
    24 March 2017.

Department of Business and Professional Regulation.   “Chapter 720: Florida Statutes, Homeowners’ Associations.”
    Accessed 25 March 2017.

Associa Living Better Blog.   “Can Your HOA Prohibit Flag Display?”
    14 June 2016.