Michigan Road Sign Displays Racist Trayvon Martin Message

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By Benge Nsenduluka, CP Reporter
April 10, 2012|9:45 am

Motorists were left horrified after an electronic construction sign in Michigan was hacked and altered to display a racist slur about slain teen Trayvon Martin.

Drivers on Interstate 94 near Dearborn, Mich. Immediately complained to local authorities when a road sign, often used to notify road users about construction works, was changed in the early hours of Monday morning and read "TRAYVON A N-----," according to CBS Local News.

The racist message, which many suspect was crafted by pranksters, was left on public display for at least an hour before it was finally removed.

Michigan Department of Transportation spokesman Rob Morosi confirmed that an intruder had somehow gained unlawful access to the box attached to the portable sign along westbound I-94.

"These signs, obviously, are in cabinets which someone has to break into. And then they have to be knowledgeable as to how to erase the message that's on there, create a new message and activate it," Morosi told CBS.

Michigan Department of Transportation spokesperson Rob Morosi said someone broke into the sign's operating system and put up the racial slur, changing the original message.

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Many residents were outraged about the hacking, and although some were surprised, others were not.

"I'd just hope it was an isolated train of thought, you know, but I do believe there are a lot of ignorant people still out there. I'm just sorry it happened," Ken Furgama of Melvindale said.

Reverend Wendell Anthony, of the Detroit Office of the NAACP, said that he was not shocked by the incident but still maintains an optimistic outlook.

"We know that we've got some foolish people in all communities, in all races, in all ethnicities. But it is up to us who are wiser, who know better, to stand up, speak out, call it out, and let's try to fix it as long as we're able. So, I am not discouraged. I am still very much encouraged," Anthony said.

Martin, 17, was shot and killed outside of his Sanford, Fla., home on Feb. 26 by confessed shooter George Zimmerman, and the case has sparked public outrage with many calling for the 28-year-old's arrest.

 

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