DFL asks senators to remove pro-police pins

Officer Arik Matson from Waseca was recognized in the Senate earlier in the day.

A protester carries a Thin Blue Line flag outside the Minnesota Capitol. (Fibonacci Blue/Flickr)

During a Senate session Tuesday, Republican senators were asked by DFL members to remove lapel pins that showed support for police.

Senate President Jeremy Miller, R-Winona, announced that he had received multiple complaints about the Thin Blue Line pins several members were wearing to show their support for the Minnesota Police Officer of the Year, who was recognized that day on the Senate floor.

“There is a long-standing custom of the Senate for members not to display visual advocacy while we’re on the Senate floor,” Miller said.

Sen. John Jasinski, R-Faribault, said he would not apologize, although he would respect the decision.

“I would like to apologize, but I’m not going to apologize,” Jasinski said. “I’m just simply going to state, I gave out pins in respect for my law enforcement officer today when he was being recognized as the Minnesota Police Officer of the Year for 2020.”

Officer Arik Matson from Waseca was recognized in the Senate earlier in the day Tuesday “for his advocacy and perseverance in recovery,” noted Jasinski.

“I will respect your decision to remove my pin, but I was doing it in respect for our law enforcement officer today while he was in the Senate,” Jasinski said.

In a statement, Jasinski noted that while a Senate rule does “prohibit advocacy,” it has rarely been invoked for the “hundreds of different lapel pins worn by both parties.”

“In an era when it isn’t the popular position to show support for those fighting against crime, I’m proud to back our law enforcement professionals,” Jasinski said.

Having to remove the pin was “so disappointing,” he added.

Matson was shot in the line of duty while responding to a suspicious person call in January of 2020, and he endured an eight-month rehabilitation therapy program for brain trauma.