Photo of fallen Calif. rookie LEO sparks controversy on social media

The photo of Officer Natalie Corona waving the thin blue line flag has caused controversy


By PoliceOne Staff

DAVIS, Calif. — The image of fallen California rookie officer Natalie Corona holding a flag has circulated around social media since her death on Jan. 10.

Rich Lau, the photographer behind Corona’s photo, remembers the day of the photo shoot well, KTVU reports. 

Natalie Corona waving the thin blue line flag (Photo/ Natalie Corona via Facebook)
Natalie Corona waving the thin blue line flag (Photo/ Natalie Corona via Facebook)

"She chose the outfit, she chose the flag," Lau said. The image shows Corona in a blue dress carrying a black-striped American flag with a thin, blue line streaked across it. It has become a symbol to honor fallen law enforcement officers. 

"I would like this photograph to serve as my gratitude for all those law enforcement men and women who have served, who are currently serving, and those who have died in the line of duty protecting our liberties in this great country," Corona wrote on Facebook in Oct. 2016, according to the report. 

But, since the photo became widely circulated, some have taken to social media to call the flag insensitive and racist.

According to The Sacramento Bee, in a now deleted Facebook post, a student group at UC Davis claimed the meaning behind the photo of Officer Corona was “racist”, “triggering” and “blatantly anti-Black.”

The group deleted the post after student body president Michael Gofman called it “disgusting” on Facebook, according to the report.

Retired law enforcement lieutenant Randy Sutton called the flag backlash insulting and devastating.

“This is reprehensible,” Sutton told CBS Sacramento, “while police officers and families are mourning the death of this woman, they put a bounty put on Thin Blue Line Flags.”

Responding to the backlash, UC Davis called for unity and said student groups don’t speak for the college. 

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