SOMERVILLE, MASS. (WHDH) - “Thin blue line” flags that were put on display on Somerville fire trucks have been removed.

Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone says the city’s fire trucks are not authorized to display the “thin blue line” flag.

Tom Ross, the president of the Somerville Firefighters Association Local 76, says the flag is meant to honor fallen officers.

“This isn’t a political statement that was meant to generate any kind of hate from anybody in the public,” he said. “The only thing this was meant for was to honor the police officers who have died in the line of duty in the past.”

Curtatone explained the city’s decision in a statement, saying, “This was an unauthorized action and the flags have been removed. We sincerely hope that the people who did this did not understand how hurtful this would be to our community. I and the city have respect for our first responders and their work to make everyone in the community feel safe. This is not the way to advance the effort.”

“Thin blue line” flags were also ordered to be removed from fire trucks in Hingham. These flags were donated to the Weymouth Fire Department, who placed them on the back of their trucks in honor of fallen Weymouth Police Sgt. Michael Chesna.

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