Indiana ‘Hate Cops?’ Billboard Prompts Controversy

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Amid a tense atmosphere nationwide over report after report of police-action shootings and police officers being shot, it only took a billboard to set off an online controversy in east-central Indiana.

A billboard reading “Hate cops? The next time you need help call a crackhead” was visible for at least a few hours Saturday on an electronic billboard near the intersection of Wheeling and Riverside avenues in Muncie, Ind. Megan Thomas said she noticed it around 1 p.m. Saturday while walking with her niece along the Riverwalk. She was offended not just by what she called a message that was “vulgar, discriminatory to many different classes of people in our city,” but also by the fact that it appeared to have gone up right before the start of a planned demonstration against police brutality, starting just a few blocks away.

“I was very ashamed that something so dividing was present in Muncie,” Thomas said Sunday.

Her Facebook post of a photo of the billboard, along with a question about whether tax dollars had paid for the sign and contact information for the billboard company, prompted a flurry of responses, positive and negative, and — as of Monday afternoon — more than 1,000 shares. Thomas said she drove past the sign around 5 p.m. Saturday, and saw by that time the “Hate cops?…” one was no longer in the rotation appearing on the electronic billboard.

As of Sunday morning, the billboard featured just a series of ads for car dealerships, a local restaurant, the city bus system and Hometown Outdoor Advertising, the company that owns the electronic billboard.

By Monday afternoon, a few more ads had joined the rotation, one reading “Love, Respect, Support Law Enforcement,” and the other “Love, Support, Support Law Enforcement.”

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SOURCE: Robin Gibson
The (Muncie, Ind.) Star Press