WAXHAW, N.C. — An officer in Union County is gearing up for a different kind of fight Wednesday night -- he’s trying to keep his Thin Blue Line flag flying outside his home.
Chris Castrogiovanni says the flag’s been outside of his house for years, but now his Milbridge Community homeowners association in Waxhaw is telling him it has to come down. Wednesday night, he’s arguing to keep the flag.
“I’ve been flying this flag since 2012 when I first moved here after I retired out of New York,” Castrogiovanni told Channel 9′s Genevieve Curtis.
The flag has been a fixture, but last month, the retired NYPD officer got the first of three letters from his HOA telling him it had to go.
“After today, I could be hit up $100 a day, they can also put a lien on your house,” Castrogiovanni said.
He’s now working as a law enforcement officer in Union County, but Castrogiovanni says the Thin Blue Line flag is personal to him. He says it honors the sacrifices made by fellow officers.
“[After] 9/11, I attended 26 funerals, three of which were personal friends; I have tattooed on my arm,” Castrogiovanni said. He’s also battling a form of cancer that’s often seen in first responders who worked at Ground Zero after 9/11.
The HOA says that following complaints over political flags, it recently changed its rules, and the flag is no longer allowed. The only ones that are currently permitted are the U.S. flag, official military flags, and flags of other countries.
“It bothers me that the first responders were left out,” Castrogiovanni said.
During an HOA board hearing Wednesday, Castrogiovanni asked for a more democratic approach.
“All I’m asking is for a common sense covenant. Let’s have the residents vote on it; if I get voted down, then I get voted down,” Castrogiovanni said.
The HOA ultimately agreed to discuss potentially putting the flag issue out for a vote.
For now, his flag is flying, but Castrogiovanni says he hasn’t decided what he’ll do if the HOA rules against him.
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