Sheriff’s office sergeant banned from eBay after selling Honor Guard coins honoring fallen officers

Sheriff’s office sergeant banned from eBay after selling
Honor Guard coins honoring fallen officers 1

The following contains editorial content written by a current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.

PLACER COUNTY, CA – According to a post by the Placer County Deputies official Facebook page, a Placer County Sheriff’s Office sergeant had their eBay account permanently suspended after having posted a listing for PCSO challenge coins on the platform.

On the Placer County Deputies Facebook page, the post in question shared the alleged text from the email that the sergeant received notifying them of the permanent account suspension:

“Hello ********,

Your eBay account has been permanently suspended because we noticed activity that we believe is a risk to our community.

This means the following:

– You can’t buy or sell on eBay any longer. Any other accounts that you own or that are associated with this account have also been suspended.

– Outstanding selling fees are due immediately, and any amounts that you haven’t previously disputed will be charged to the payment method we have on file.

The safety of our community is a top priority for us, so our decision to permanently suspend your account is final and can’t be appealed.

If you have any concerns or questions regarding this matter, select Help & Contact at the top of most eBay pages.

Thanks, eBay.”

The post from there went on to rhetorically ask:

“What risk does selling these challenge coins create!? You can buy similar coins on the Internet without issue. It is very common in the military and in law enforcement.”

Based upon the alleged text in the email from eBay, it’s unclear whether the account suspension is directly related to the sergeant’s posting of the challenge coins on the platform.

But for the sake of speculation, and to understand if listing such challenge coins could fall under a terms of service violation on eBay – we’ll assume that the suspension was for the listing of the challenge coins.

When reviewing eBay’s terms of service/policies with respect to items one is allowed to list on the platform – it turns out that there’s a lot of restrictions on what one can sell and how they can list particular items.

What stood out among the listed policies on restricted items was two categories in particular, those being the “Government Items Policy” and the “Police-Related Items Policy”. And as silly as this may seem, the aforementioned listing that the sergeant purportedly created might breach one or both of these listed policies.

When looking at the “Government Items Policy” within eBay, the policy notes that, “government, private transit, or shipping company uniforms and accessories such as hats, pins, and scarves,” have restrictions or prohibitions with selling these kinds of items.

Items such as, “government-issued medals and certificates for medals,” are prohibited for sale on eBay. While seemingly petty, the listing could’ve violated that policy if the challenge coins were being interpreted as a government-issued medal.

But then there is the “Police-Related Items Policy” – which is broader in the manner it approaches and defines prohibited listings for eBay. The policy stance says it aims for the following:

“To help prevent impersonation, we don’t allow certain police or emergency service-related items to be listed for sale.”

So, when breaking down the “certain” types of police-related items forbade from being listed on eBay, the policy states that, “law enforcement and other government-issued uniforms, badges, or accessories, such as hats, jackets, and shirts, or replicas of these items,” are prohibited.

Between the two policies examined above, it’s possible that the eBay account received the permanent suspension by violating one or even both of the listed policies.

Or it could be something completely different altogether.

For instance, if an eBay listing or account gets massively flagged by other users, then eBay might just permanently suspend the account in response.

The fact of the matter is that the listed reason for the account suspension from the shared eBay email text is extremely vague (and likely a “canned” email as well, since it allegedly came from a “no reply” email account).

So, unless eBay clarifies in more specific terms why they permanently suspended the account, it’ll be hard to nail down exactly why the banning was doled out. 

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In other matters related to law enforcement getting the proverbial cold shoulder in certain respects, a police chief in Wisconsin decided to ban the image of the thin blue line at the police department due to community outrage over the symbol. 

Here’s that previous report from us at Law Enforcement Today. 


MADISON, WI – After essentially caving to pressure brought on by the local community, the University of Wisconsin-Madison police chief has banned any imagery of the thin blue line while officers are at work.

From what the police chief says, this was not a decision reached easily but she eventually folded under the intense scrutiny that the thin blue line symbol has endured.

UW Madison Police chief bans use of “thin blue line” imagery

— The Hill (@thehill) January 29, 2021

In an email sent out by Chief Kristen Roman earlier in January, she proclaimed that the thin blue line flag and imagery had effectively been “co-opted” by individuals who host “hateful ideologies”.

And whether the officers agree with the public perception of the symbol or not, the image is causing some strain between that police department and the community.

From what Chief Roman wrote in the email, she’s quite cognizant of the fact that this decision may upset some of the officers and expressed empathy in those likely boiling emotions:

“I understand that this decision may cause emotional responses, even anger from some. I, too, feel hurt and disappointed as we confront our current reality. I know this is hard. I know this issue is complicated.”

The way that the banning of the imagery will work is that displays of the thin blue line to include flags, pins, bracelets, notebooks, coffee mugs and pretty much anything else that can host the image are banned from the workplace.

However, there are some minute exceptions – which are officers hosting tattoos of the thin blue line that are visible and certain occasions such as an officer’s funeral.

While the thin blue line is an image that represents the balance that police officers represent in society, namely being the barrier between civility and chaos, the flag has been getting labeled as some sort of symbol tantamount to white nationalism or supremacy.

As ridiculous as that may sound, the allegation that the thin blue line is somehow a symbol against black Americans has been a pretty common occurrence over the past year.

With protests staged by the like of BLM or Antifa that host anti-police sentiments, typically one could see some thin blue line flags hoisted by counter demonstrators who are there to support police officers.

Funny how many flag burners and supporters of such are suddenly so concerned about “disrespecting the America flag”.😂

— Arrows (@83AmericanArrow) January 29, 2021

It’s been the aforementioned displays that have essentially created the fodder for the narrative that the thin blue line is some sort of nefarious dog whistle used to rally folks who are secretly racist.

Keep in mind, it’s not even remotely close to what the thin blue line means or represents – but the negative connotation is what is being peddled, repeated, and instilled into the modern public discourse.

And in Chief Roman’s email she even pointed out that she did her best to explain to those critical of the thin blue line that the symbol does not represent anything negative or hateful, but wrote her efforts, “continue[d] to fall short in ways I can’t simply ignore.”

In short, Chief Roman explained that her efforts were essentially unfruitful – because no matter how much she explained what the symbol means, she was catching flack and people were continuing to allege that the thin blue line means something derogatory toward certain sects of the populace.

When closing the email, Chief Roman reminded officers that with being a police officer, sometimes one has to set aside the “investment in a symbol” and the community outrage over said symbol “alienates” the general public from the police:

“At the end of the day, we have dedicated ourselves to a profession that demands service above self. As such, relevant community concerns, perceptions, and fears necessarily outweigh our shared professional investment in a symbol that presently separates and alienates us from those we have promised to serve.”


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The post Sheriff’s office sergeant banned from eBay after selling Honor Guard coins honoring fallen officers appeared first on Law Enforcement Today.

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