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Update: Following publication of the story, Garwood Police Chief Bruce D. Underhill denied that the police “ordered” the flag to be removed and would not discuss whether or not the police had been contacted about the home in question. He also declined to discuss what “appropriate steps” were taken after his officers became aware of the situation. The headline and the story have been updated to reflect Underhill’s further comments.
Original story below.
Police in Garwood, New Jersey, confirmed that a militant flag associated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) was removed from the front of a local home after hundreds of online activists expressed fear and revulsion.
Garwood Police Chief Bruce D. Underhill confirmed to the Washington Free Beacon that officers were “aware of the situation” and residents at the suburban home “voluntarily” agreed to remove the flag.
A photo of the home with the ISIL and Turkish flags was tweeted out Tuesday morning and quickly attracted hundreds of retweets and comments.
Underhill told the Free Beacon that the police are aware of the situation and are working to uphold the public safety.
“Thank you for your concern regarding this important matter,” Underhill wrote the Free Beacon in an email Wednesday afternoon. “Only with the public’s continued cooperation can we keep our communities safe.”
“Please be assured that the Garwood Police are aware of the situation and have taken the appropriate steps,” Underhill wrote. “At this time, the flag in question has been voluntarily taken down. No further comments.”
Multiple calls to a number associated with the New Jersey address were not answered and a resident did not respond to messages left seeking comment. Messages sent to a Facebook account believed to be associated with one of the residents also were not answered by press time.
Following the initial picture of the home, which clearly displayed the ISIL and Turkish flags on its front porch, Twitter users posted an updated photo that appeared to confirm that the black militant flag had been removed.
The ISIL banner was replaced by a flag that appears to resemble the blue-and-white-stripped flag of Greece, though it was unclear from the photos to what nation the flag belongs.
The Turkish flag remains displayed, according to the photograph.
The initial photo of the ISIL flag quickly drew outrage on Twitter early Tuesday and was even retweeted by conservative television host Glenn Beck.
“That’s creepy,” responded one Twitter user.
Others expressed concern for their safety and commented that it is inappropriate for a jihadist flag to be displayed from the home.
ISIL continues to wage its violent campaign to overthrow the Iraqi government.
The U.S. sent an additional 130 military advisers to Iraq on Tuesday to help coordinate the fight against ISIL, which now includes U.S. airstrikes.
The Free Beacon will update this story as further information comes to light.