Hamilton County sheriffs replace U.S. flag at justice center with police "thin blue line" flag

Officers with Hamilton County Sheriff's Office replaced the U.S. flag with their own "thin blue line" flag Sunday, hoisting the desecrated version over the Justice Center in Cincinnati.

ABC News reports that sheriff Jim Neil said the U.S. flag was stolen by protestors. Neil does not convincingly explain why he replaced the U.S. flag with a different one.

"Should have been replaced with American flag immediately," fellow Democrat Chris Seelbach tweeted back. "Not replaced with a politically charged blue lives matter flag when thousands are protesting in our streets because #BlackLivesMatter. Sheriff Neil has only made things worse. Again."

In the police flag, the colors of the union flag are replaced with black and white but for a "thin blue line" symbolizing the police. The line divides the country in two, replacing one of the bars that traditionally represent the original 13 colonies.

The desecrated flag is a regular subject of criticism and parody, especially its plain implication that the U.S. is (or should become) a police state.