Thomas DisSario, a disabled veteran and the father of slain police officer Steven Eric DiSario has been ordered by his homeowner’s association to take down his police officer’s thin blue line flag.
DisSario received a letter from his HOA informing him that his flag is a “political statement” and that it must be removed 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 father of 6, was a police chief in Kirkersvill, Ohio, when he was shot and killed in 2017 while responding to a shooting at the Pine Kirk Care Center. The gunman at the scene murdered two others and then turned the gun on himself.
“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 flag was a gift from his son’s police friends after he was killed in the line of duty.
“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.”
Before the letter was sent to DiSario, a veteran who requires oxygen after being exposed to sarin gas during Desert Storm caught a man trying to take down the Thin Blue Line and the American flag flying above it.
“I had a gentleman come in my yard, lower the flags, and [he] wiped his face on them,” DiSario said. “I, in turn, asked him to leave. He would not, and I put him out of my yard. He came back … sat on my rock, then he proceeded to get up and take the flags down again, and I stopped him and put him out of my yard.”
The Licking County Sheriff’s Office responded however they could not locate the man who attempted to take down the flags.
“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.
“It represents my son and nothing else. So I don’t know why everybody is now harassing me that I have to take it down.”
HOA president David Dye pompously stated that the community where DiSario Bought his home has “deed restrictions” when it was developed and there are rules that must be followed.
Dye also likes to take down nativity displays.
“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.”
The HOA claims that the flag is a sign.
“Sometimes signs masquerade as flags or as light displays, as examples,” Dye said. “The board has adopted this and, as a sign, we don’t get to judge what it says.”
“We have had to ask people to remove a sign advertising a nativity display, as an example. It doesn’t matter whether we agree. If it’s a sign, you are not allowed to post it, according to the deed restrictions.”