Zachary Karrenbrock of Cypresswood, Texas, recently tied blue ribbons to trees along the road that goes through his neighborhood.
It is a gesture of solidarity with police that is duplicated in communities across the U.S. since the July 7 sniper shootings of law enforcement officers in Dallas.
Many people have also been showing their support for police by putting blue bulbs in their front porch lights -- a practice that dates back to 1989, according to the organization Concerns of Police Survivors. That year, Dolly Craig put two blue candles in her living room window in honor of her son-in-law police officer who had been killed in the line of duty.
As for Karrenbrock’s ribbons, he was shocked when his homeowners association sent an email demanding their removal, and subsequently had them taken down.
"I was born and raised in Cypresswood, I've lived here for 23 years," he told KRIV. "I'm a firefighter in the area for seven and a half years and it was an absolute punch in the throat to see that email."
After looking into the matter, Karrenbrock discovered the trees he had tied ribbons to are on public property -- a fact confirmed by KRIV legal analyst, Chris Tritico.
In its email to residents, the Cypresswood Community Association implied that the ribbons might be politically incorrect. It urged residents to "contact us prior to placing signs or tying ribbons along our right-of-ways and community property areas. The Board needs to make sure such gestures are not political, nor offensive to a particular group."
But according to Tritico, ribbon-tying is protected under the First Amendment, and a homeowners association does not have the right to regulate a community’s freedom of expression or speech.
Karrenbrock went on a radio show and and gave a shoutout on Facebook, encouraging his neighbors to help him put the ribbons back up. Around 150 people showed up to tie blue ribbons on trees in the subdivision.