Freedom of speech is one thing… but this graffiti found on an overpass in Kentucky crosses way over the line.

 

LOUISVILLE, Ken. – The community of Louisville is coming together to voice their concern after an unknown vandal spray painted a vile, anti-police message on a highway overpass. 

The graffiti, which appeared this week in the Kentucky city, doesn’t pull any punches with its message: “Kill Cops” the tag says, followed by, “Capitalism is Killing Us All”.

The tag appeared on an overpass on I-64. And the city says it goes way past the line of free speech and its message is dangerous and could lead to inciting violence.

kill_cops_graffiti

The graffiti showed up on the highway overpass on Saturday. Now, the community is responding. (Twitter)

 

Now, the city leaders are calling upon the community to provide support to law enforcement, both within the area and across the country.

The Democratic Caucus of the Louisville Metro Council urged citizens to take step back and reevaluate their actions.

“There is a guaranteed freedom of speech in this country, but we have to draw the line when the speech advocates violence,” said David James, president of the council. “This recent graffiti sends the wrong message at a time when all of our officers need support as they protect us.”

 

NBC 3 reported that Metro Councilman Anthony Piagentini followed with a tweet of his support for police after seeing the horrific message painted on the side of the overpass.

“If you wear the uniform, know this, the vast majority of citizens love you and support you. We have your backs because you have ours,” Piagentini said.

President James calls upon the community to support police and denounces recent violent graffitiGraffiti found on…

Posted by The Democratic Caucus of the Louisville Metro Council on Saturday, September 21, 2019

 

The call for violence has since been removed from the bridge after city leaders quickly dispatched a crew to handle it. They say that hate has no place in their community. 

“As a community, we must take a stand. Violence is no answer to any problem. The dedicated men and women of every police department in our community roll out on the street every day to do their jobs and keep us safe,” said James. “We must give them our thanks and support.”

In a time when police are under constant attack by the media, elected leaders and the public, can we really afford to let these messages spread? We’re so glad to see a group stand up and tell their supporters that they’re going too far and need to change their perception. 

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At what point does the freedom of speech within art cross the line? When does a message go too far?

A college in Pennsylvania found itself in the media spotlight earlier this year after displaying a student’s work of art that contained the words “KILL COPS.”

 

After employees complained and asked for it to be taken down, administrators claimed that the message was taken out of context and in no way an endorsement for violence against police officers. In fact, the painting was referred to as a ‘call for peace.’

Wait… what?

How else can the words “KILL COPS” be interpreted? If the word ‘cops’ was removed and replaced with another group of people, would that be okay? Would that still be a call to peace?

Free speech and the freedom of expression are rights, but hate speech is not protected. There should be consequences for this type of behavior.

 

When faced with the controversy, the student who painted the mural argued that his work was misunderstood. He did not clarify, however, how else the art could be interpreted.

“I believe that my piece has been taken completely out of context, specifically the one that contains the words ‘kill cops,’” the 20-year-old student said. “They were stripped away of the totality of the rest of the competition [and] the meaning behind it.”

Allegheny school officials stood in defense of the student, but eventually the artwork was removed from its display.

“The artist, the Art Department, and Allegheny College do not condone violence toward police or any group of people,” Allegheny College wrote in the post. “This artwork when viewed fully documents an urban street scene in which many controversial slogans are visible. The intent from the artist is to call for an end to mindless violence, just the opposite from the context being circulated on social media.”

 

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