The Memphis Police Association is outraged after activists changed two billboards in the Tennessee city to read “defund the police,” including one near the location of a police officer’s death last week.
The altered billboard read “Defund the Police: See all the lives you could save.”
“It’s very frustrating. Officers are already suffering the loss of a co-worker,” Memphis Police Association President Lt. Essica Cage-Rosario said during a Fox News “Fox & Friends First” interview on Thursday.
“This is the third officer we’ve lost in just as many months. So officers are already feeling a sense of remorse,” she said.
The Memphis Police Association is furious after guerrilla activists altered Memphis billboards to read ‘defund the police’ near the site of an officer’s death last weekend.https://t.co/MtHbdEz8Vr
— Fox & Friends First (@FoxFriendsFirst) October 7, 2021
“They’re very saddened about the loss of their co-worker, and to see someone put up a billboard in the same area saying ‘defund the police,’ it’s a slap in the face,” Cage-Rosario said.
She denounced whoever defaced the billboard.
“This group, they clearly took over someone else’s billboard and committed an act of vandalism, very brazen and very unnecessary if you ask me,” the police lieutenant said.
10/6/21: These billboards were put up in Memphis where a police officer was killed. I’m amazed that anyone is saying to defund the police. pic.twitter.com/sWh9JZDTT1
— Orisha Kulick (@KulickOrisha) October 6, 2021
Asked about the changes in law enforcement, Cage-Rosario also noted a shift that has taken place in the culture.
“Policing definitely has changed,” she said. “It used to be a career where little kids wanted to be the police when they grew up. And over the years that has changed.”
Memphis police Officer Darrell Adams was working the scene of a traffic accident last weekend when he was struck by a semi-truck and tragically lost his life.
A fundraiser has been launched in support of his family on Facebook.
“Today, my heart aches again for the loss of another dedicated servant of our city. I am in deep prayer for our officer’s family and the men and women of the Memphis Police Department,” Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis said in a statement.
“Today, my heart aches again for the loss of another dedicated servant of our city. I am in deep prayer for our officer’s family and the men and women of the Memphis Police Department.” – Chief Cerelyn Davis pic.twitter.com/l4FfX15G4I
— Memphis Police Dept (@MEM_PoliceDept) October 2, 2021
A group reportedly claimed credit for defacing the billboards.
“In an email sent to WREG, the group refers to itself as guerrilla activists art collective INDECLINE. It says it took to the highways of Memphis to alter the message of two Geico insurance billboards with a call to defund police,” WREG-TV reported.
Two billboards in Memphis were vandalized with ‘Defund Police’ message. Group takes responsibility https://t.co/4prqBTOp2y
— melissa moon (@MMoon_WREG3) October 5, 2021
City Council members Patrice Robinson and Frank Colvett said that’s the wrong message, according to the report.
“Defunding the police is not what we mean, and we don’t want people to think that’s what we mean. What we really mean is we want to invest more in our young people and people who need support,” Robinson said.
“When the sad tragedy happened in Collierville, they raced into the building to try to solve the problem, when the shooting at [Cummings School] K-12 happened and recent home invasion of a Rhodes student, it’s the Memphis Police Department that needs our support,” Colvett said.
“Not only fund the needs they [police] have, but also recruit and be able to recruit and get the numbers we all know the experts have said to get us to a more safe city,” he said.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.