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Dispute over pro-police ‘Blue Lives Matter’ flag results in $100G settlement for county employee who sued

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Dispute over pro-police ‘Blue Lives Matter’ flag results in $100G settlement for county employee who sued
FILE - In this July 28, 2016, file photo, a flag with blue and black stripes in support of law enforcement officers, flies at a protest by police and their supporters outside Somerville City Hall in Somerville, Mass. (Associated Press)

FILE – In this July 28, 2016, file photo, a flag with blue and black stripes in support of law enforcement officers, flies at a protest by police and their supporters outside Somerville City Hall in Somerville, Mass. (Associated Press)

A county in Oregon has agreed to pay a former employee a $100,000 settlement after she sued the county for racial discrimination because a co-worker had posted a “Blue Lives Matter” flag in an office in support of local police.

The former employee, Karimah Guion-Pledgure, had worked as a corrections technician for the Multnomah County Department of Community Justice since 2011 but agreed to drop her lawsuit and resign as part of the settlement, the Portland Mercury reported, although she will be permitted to apply for another county job.

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In her lawsuit, Guion-Pledgure alleged that other county employees had retaliated against her after she complained that the pro-police flag was offensive, the report said.

The plaintiff, a black woman, contended that the phrase “Blue Lives Matter” had co-opted the phrase “Black Lives Matter,” and thus denigrated and diluted the original term.

According to the Mercury, the woman who sued originally protested the flag by displaying photos of people of color who had been killed by police officers. Department managers then asked her to remove the photos but she refused because the pro-police flag was allowed to stay in place.

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A county spokeswoman, Jessica Morkert-Shibley, said county officials were working on policy revisions intended to avoid such disputes in the future, the Oregonian reported.

The plaintiff had originally sought $420,000 in her lawsuit, the newspaper reported.

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