Culture

Police Under Investigation for Traffic Safety Message That Offended Black Lives Matter Protesters

Black Lives Matter of Greater New York lead the "Find Our Girls" march on April 9, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Erik McGregor via AP Images)

Last week, Paul Brodeur, mayor of Melrose, Mass., apologized for a supposedly offensive traffic safety message and launched an investigation into it. He made a federal case about a police billboard reading “THE SAFETY OF ALL LIVES MATTER.” This simple statement expressing the importance of safety for everyone is purportedly offensive or racist or something because many respond to the “Black Lives Matter” movement with signs reading “All Lives Matter.”

“I have just been made aware that the following traffic sign is being displayed on Main Street,” Brodeur tweeted with a picture of the sign. “I have ordered that it be taken down immediately and am taking steps to find out how this happened. I apologize to the residents of Melrose.”

The mayor’s tweet went viral as conservatives drew attention to the idea that the message “all lives matter,” even in a clearly apolitical context, is considered too offensive.

“So…all lives *don’t* matter, Mr. Mayor?” Mark Dice tweeted.

Brodeur was right to think some citizens of Melrose would find the message offensive, however. At least two members of the City Council — Maya Jamaleddine and Jack Eccles — joined a small group of Black Lives Matter protesters at the location where the sign once stood, Patch reported.

Police Chief Mike Lyle insisted that the officer who wrote “all lives matter” did not do so with “malicious or political intent.” He launched an investigation into the “improper and unfortunate” sign.

“I am aware that the phrase ‘all lives matter’ is commonly used as a misguided counter to the Black Lives Matter movement,” Lyle said in a statement. “Preliminarily, the officer reported to me that he did not post the message with either malicious or political intent. The officer, by his account, was trying to type a traffic safety message in the limited space offered by the electronic sign and did not realize the totality or impact of the words he had posted.”

The police chief, like the mayor, apologized for the sign.

While the statement “black lives matter” is clearly true and it expresses righteous anger about the horrific police killing of George Floyd, leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement have identified themselves as Marxists and have presented a clearly Marxist platform, calling for the dismantling of capitalism and the nuclear family. This rush to defend the Black Lives Matter movement is terrifying, and arguably represents an establishment of a pseudo-religious political worldview.

“THE SAFETY OF ALL LIVES MATTER” is a clearly apolitical and inoffensive message, and the investigation revealed as much.

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

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