HOA Orders Murdered Hero’s Father To Remove Flag, He Has Other Plans

9228 0

After his son was killed in the line of duty, a man raised a memorial flag on his property to honor his son’s memory. When the homeowner’s association ordered him to remove it, the proud father had a different idea.

Thomas DiSario
Thomas DiSario, an Ohio resident, is defying a homeowner’s association’s order to remove a controversial flag. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

For years after his son’s untimely death, disabled combat veteran Thomas DiSario flew a Thin Blue Line flag in his front yard. However, the banner eventually became an issue with the community, forcing the grieved father to choose between honoring his son’s memory or facing devastating fines.

Kirkersville Police Chief Steven Eric DiSario was shot and killed while responding to a call at a nursing home. Shortly after reporting that he spotted the suspect, 43-year-old Thomas Hartless, the officer was murdered. Hartless then went on to kill two female nursing home employees before committing suicide moments later.

Thomas DiSario
Thomas Disario (right) lost his son, Kirkersville Police Chief Steven Eric DiSario (left), when he was gunned down by a mass shooter. (Photo Credit: Provided)

Ever since that day, Thomas DiSario has flown the flag representing fallen officers to honor the memory of his son. The banner flies just below an American flag on a pole in front of his Ohio residence and has remained there without incident for years until someone reportedly complained, he told WCMH.

“It’s been flying since the 12th of May 2017,” said Thomas DiSario, giving the date his son died. “The only time it comes down if it’s worn out and I buy a new one and put it back up.”

The trouble began when DiSario caught a strange man on his property taking down the memorial flag. Although he called the police, the suspect left before they arrived, and officers could not track him down.

“I had a gentleman come in my yard, lower the flags, and [he] wiped his face on them,” DiSario said. “I, in turn, asked him to leave. He would not, and I put him out of my yard. He came back … sat on my rock, then he proceeded to get up and take the flags down again, and I stopped him and put him out of my yard.”

Thomas DiSario says he has flown the Thin Blue Line flag in honor of his son for years without any complaints. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

Two days after the bizarre incident, Thomas DiSario received a letter from the Omni Community Association Managers, who ordered that the flag come down because it was a “political sign” that violated the neighborhood’s rules.

“The political sign in the form of a flag must be removed from your property. The flag on your pole is not a United States Flag. It is a political statement. Please remove the flag from your property,” the letter read in part.

DiSario was devastated. He said the flag is not political in any way and only “represents my son and nothing else.” Still, David Dye, the association president, said that DiSario “agreed” to the rules when he purchased his home in the area and must abide by them.

“They bought into the community with rules,” Dye said. “He agreed by buying in this community that he can’t display what he wants to display.”

Thomas DiSario received a letter from the HOA ordering the flag’s removal under threat of fines. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

Dye explained that the restrictions are detailed in filings with the county recorder. However, it is unclear how a “political sign” is defined and who gets to decide what qualifies as such a thing.

“Sometimes signs masquerade as flags or as light displays, as examples,” Dye said. “The board has adopted this and, as a sign, we don’t get to judge what it says.”

Thomas did not take down the flag and refused to do so within the 10-day time limit the association gave. He also vowed not to pay any fines and said he planned to take the matter to court.

“I’m not taking it down. The flag is not political,” DiSario said. “That flag stands for my son’s death and it’s been like there ever since my son was buried. I don’t know why all of a sudden, I am having problems.”

Thomas DiSario
Thomas DiSario refused to remove the flag and said he planned to take the matter to court. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

The case has caused division among the public. Some have argued that Thomas DiSario agreed to follow the rules when he bought into the area. Still, others believe the HOA has gone too far and imposed rules that are too vague and can be interpreted in any way they want.

Regardless, DiSario was willing to take the matter before a judge. However, it is unclear whether he will submit to the court if the case doesn’t go in his favor. Should it even have to come to that? You decide.