Frankton, IN – The Frankton Police Department (FPD) has decided to remove the “All Lives Matter” decals from its patrol vehicles, after the department received complaints that the phrase allegedly undermines the Black Lives Matter movement.
Frankton resident Molly Hobbs led the push to have the decals removed by creating a petition and rallying critics to sign off on it, WRTV reported.
"As I educated myself on the Black Lives Matter movement more and kind of spoke with other people about it, I kind of realized that that's not OK and it needs to come off," Hobbs declared.
Hobbs alleged that “All Lives Matter” is a “controversial issue,” and said that police had no right to take “a stand” on it, WRTV reported.
The decals have been on the city’s patrol vehicles since 2016.
“I created the petition to kind of show people that it's not just me,” she added. “That it is a problem."
Over 150 people have signed Hobbs’ online petition, but it was unclear how many of those endorsements were made by local residents.
“[Black Lives Matter] brings attention to injustices against people of color, mostly committed by police officers,” Hobbs declared in the petition. “The ‘All Lives Matter’ group was created to silence and villainize people of color fighting for justice.”
“This controversial slogan does not belong on the vehicles of those meant to protect and serve,” the petition read. “Removing this slogan will increase diversity and help diminish the negative, racist stereotypes that rural midwest towns receive.”
Frankton Town Marshal Dave Huffman said that the slogan was never intended as a way to undermine the Black Lives Matter movement, WRTV reported.
The phrase was selected as a way to "illustrate the seriousness with which Frankton police officers take their duty to protect all of the town's citizens regardless of income, economic status, race, nationality, age or any other factor,” Marshall Huffman explained.
The reason the marshal gave for why the slogan was selected was nearly identical to the reason Hobbs gave for wanting it removed.
"I want the community to always be inclusive and accepting of anybody,” she said, adding that she believed removing the decals “will help the community grow.”
But many citizens argued that they saw nothing offensive about the decals.
“This stands for every color – every person that’s walking this earth,” resident Bill Taylor told WTHR as he pointed at the “All Lives Matter” decal on the patrol vehicle beside him.
“Why would somebody want this gone when it stands for unity?” Taylor asked.
Madison County National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) President James Burgess said that his organization was not taking a position on either side of the petition, WTHR reported.
“I could never say something is wrong with that,” Burgess said of the decal. “I could say, ‘Hmm, what’s the intent of that?’ because Black Lives Matter is the issue that is being left out.”
Marshal Huffman said he was sorry that the decals “antagonized” some residents, and that that the department plans to remove them, WRTV reported.