A police-related billboard above an Indiana liquor store received widespread criticism over the weekend that eventually led to public outcry for the sign's removal.
It read: “Hate cops? The next time you need help call a crackhead.”
As Muncie residents began to take notice of the electronic billboard, many condemned it as “vulgar” and “discriminatory,” the Star Press reported. One of those residents was Megan Thomas, who was so furious that she shared a photo of the billboard to Facebook on Saturday morning, writing, "Please tell me Muncie tax dollars didn't pay for this!"
In her post, which as received 1,200 shares, Thomas called the sign "outrageously offensive and covertly racist."
The sign controversy came just days after five Dallas police officers were fatally shot in an ambush attack and just before Sunday's deadly shooting in Baton Rouge that left three officers dead.
Thomas told the Star Press on Sunday that she was out walking with her niece when she noticed the billboard. She said the message was "vulgar, discriminatory to many different classes of people in our city," adding that it seemed to have been set up in anticipation of a police brutality protest.
"I was very ashamed that something so dividing was present in Muncie," she added.
She told the Star Press that by Saturday evening the electronic message had been taken out of rotation.
Chris Johnson, the owner of the liquor store where the sign was located, told the paper that he called the billboard company after receiving multiple complaints about the message and was assured that it would be taken down immediately and reworded.
According to the Star Press, a new message appeared on the billboard Monday, saying, "Love, Respect, Support Law Enforcement."
Muncie Police Sgt. Chris Kirby posted a message to the Muncie community on Facebook Saturday, stating that Muncie Liquors "had absolutely nothing to do" with the message nor did any local law enforcement. He also assured that no tax payer money went toward erecting the sign.
The identity of the individuals behind the billboard remains unknown.