MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Two billboards aimed at saving drivers money are now displaying a controversial message to defund the police.
Monday night, a group called INDECLINE, who labels themselves a guerrilla activist art collective, altered the billboards.
Tuesday morning drivers traveling down I-40 near Watkins and Levee Road in Memphis may have noticed two Geico billboards with a message off-brand for the insurance company.
“It’s time to start rethinking our entire system and how it functions,” a man with the group INDECLINE who did not want to be identified told FOX13. “People are moving quickly through life and anything that slows them down and gets them to briefly question what the accepted message is. Is probably good to help them grow.”
The Geico Billboards were altered from “Geico, see all the ways you could save” to read “Defund the Police, see all the lives you could save.”
A representative who did not wish to share his identity for his own safety explained the message.
“From a strictly economic perspective, we can either invest in treating people humanely and working towards a better future for all of us,” he said.
The President of the Memphis Police Association slammed the group behind this vandalism. She said it’s disrespectful because they’re in the same area Memphis Police Officer Darrell Adams lost his life.
“People are free to have those discussions about defunding the police, but to be honest this isn’t the time or week for me to entertain such discussions,” said Essica Cage-Rosario, President of The Memphis Police Association.
Rosario said that’s because MPD Officer Darrell Adams lost his life over the weekend in the area where these signs are located.
“He was serving this. He was working and he was killed while doing his job. And to put up a sign in the same area, like I said, it’s insensitive,” said Rosario.
In response, the representative of INDECLINE said that’s another reason to taper back officers’ roles in communities.
“Reimagining how they interact with the public, what extent they are a part of our world, will increase their own safety as much as the safety of the citizens,” the man said.
Rosario said in a city where the crime and homicide rate are high, the focus should be on recruiting qualified applicants for an understaffed department.
FOX13 also reached out to Geico for a statement. So far there has been no response. This story will be updated if they get back to us.
INDECLINE previously altered a billboard in Mississippi to show support for George Floyd. The billboard included an inflammatory message about police officers who kill in the line of duty.
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