(Memphis) It’s an in your face message.
Several Memphis Police Association billboards question how much Memphis cares about safety after cuts to the police department.
“We feel these billboards will hurt the city,” says Civil Rights Activist Wendol Lee.
He says the message, ‘This city does not support public safety. Danger. Enter at your own risk’, is a message the city doesn’t need.
“We are gonna contact the Justice Department to see if we can do something about this,” says Lee.
He says he speaks for 45 pastors who feel the same way, but only two people showed up for the press conference on Tuesday afternoon.
“We don’t like the idea. Memphis is our city. If you scare the tourists away from here, the city is gonna go down,” said Lee.
He says instead of blasting the city image, the ones who need to be blasted are corrupt police.
“We don’t want this man to think we are behind him supporting higher pay for police so they can continue to shoot the hell out of us. We are not down with that. We want police to protect us,” says Lee.
The head of the police union, Mike Williams, was on hand to hear it all.
“Most of the citizens I talked to support the police and support the billboards,” says Williams.
He says the billboards point out what the city is funding instead of police safety and more billboards are on the way.
One billboard is going right on Beale Street.
We showed the message to tourists.
“It flags the part that maybe Memphis may have some problems and that sign is alerting you to problems in Memphis,” says Jim Lovett of Ft. Myers, Florida.
“I might be a little apprehensive about coming to visit,” says Niki Lovett, also visiting from Florida.
The Memphis Police Association has made it clear, the billboards stay.
The pastors say their next plan of action is to take to the streets with a rally, but details are still in the works.