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Indiana town plans to remove 'All Lives Matter' decals from police vehicles

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Posted at 5:50 PM, Sep 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-18 19:50:39-04

FRANKTON, Ind. — An Indiana town plans to take a controversial decal off its police vehicles after dozens of people signed a petition to have it removed.

Frankton Police Department vehicles feature a decal with the phrase, "All Lives Matter." The phrase, which some consider racist, has gained popularity among those who oppose the Black Lives Matter movement.

Mary Hobbs, a Frankton resident, created a petition to remove the "All Lives Matter" decal from all police vehicles. Hobbs said the town added the decals in 2016 during the height of the Black Lives Matter movement.

"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 said. "I think it's a controversial issue and I don't think it's one the police should've taken a stand on. I created the petition to kind of show people that it's not just me. That it is a problem."

But not everyone in the community feels as strongly.

"Do you think people are offended by that here? I don't think so. I really don't," Angel Large said.

Tyjuan Garrett, a local NAACP board member, says the phrase is all about the intention. Black Lives Matter's mission is to bring light to racial injustices that stem from systematic problems they feel are not being addressed. Garrett says implicit bias or sensitivity training for officers would be a more useful step than car decals.

"I mean I would love to sit down with the Frankton Police Department and have a conversation with them and say exactly what are your motives?" Garrett said. "Tell me how you are adding to the conversation of All Lives Matter. How are you expanding out to reflect all lives matter?"

Frankton Town Marshal Dave Huffman did not agree to an on-camera interview. But he said the decals are not meant to criticize the Black Lives Matter movement and chose the slogan 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."

But after hearing that nearly 100 people have signed a petition, the town plans to remove the decals from its police cars.

"I want the community to always be inclusive and accepting of anybody and I think that doing this will help the community grow," Hobbs said.

This story was originally published by Stephanie Wade on WRTV in Indianapolis.