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Family of fallen Cleveland police officer asked to remove part of memorial by ODOT for 2nd time

Published: May. 26, 2022 at 10:42 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - For the second time in less than a year, the family of a fallen Cleveland police officer has been asked to remove part of a memorial on the highway where he died.

Last summer the family was asked to remove a wooden sign honoring officer David Fahey. The Ohio Department of Transportation said it was a safety hazard. The family said they understood and removed it.

“My brother made the ultimate sacrifice for this community and there’s a feeling that they’re turning their backs on us,” said Chris Porter, the brother of Officer Fahey.

For police week a few days ago the family put up a thin blue line flag. They say this time they are not taking it down.

“As it was explained to us, it was a safety hazard because signs on the highway are designed to breakaway safely and not cause any excess damage to vehicles or people and a heavy wooden sign would cause that damage and of course, we don’t want anybody to get hurt or anything like that,” said Porter.

Last Thursday Chris porter put up a thin blue line flag to honor his brother during police week and just a day or so later ODOT reached out to them to take it down.

“To be told that you have to take a soft flag down because it’s a danger to the highway, it’s frustrating,” admitted Porter. “Especially because I constantly point out to ODOT that there are political signs along the side of the highway that they don’t put so much fervor into the removal of.”

Fahey died after responding to a fatal accident in January of 2017. He was killed by a hit-and-run driver when he was just 39 years old.

There is a brown memorial sign approved by ODOT for Officer Fahey located on i-90 near the Warren Road exit.

“We do appreciate the sign,” said Porter. “It’s been brought to our attention well they put up the sign and we understand that but we wanna have our touch to it, it’s a place that we can’t be. We can’t go to where we lost him because it’s in the middle of a high-speed highway and that’s the one place where we feel that we can safely honor him for what he sacrificed.”

ODOT said no signage is allowed on state property unless it’s approved and there are absolutely no exceptions.

“We’re gonna continue to fight back and we are not gonna take the flag down, that’s not gonna happen,” Porter said. “We’re gonna continue to honor my brother and fight for my brother because that was the place that he was killed trying to help people in this town.”

The family says if ODOT takes the flag down they’ll put it back up every January because that’s when Fahey died and every May for police week.

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