PROVO — A Black Lives Matter message board was stolen and vandalized over the weekend before being returned covered in hate speech.
An unidentified person took the sign from a neighborhood near 2400 West and 500 North in Provo Friday night before returning it early Saturday.
When it was returned, it was spray painted with the words, “KKK The South will raise again,” and “Hang them all.”
“This verbiage is horrifying, in that it explicitly advocates for the lynching of Blacks and people of color,” said a neighbor who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation.
The board originally had “Black Lives Matter Don’t Be Silent” on it, along with hand-written messages from other residents memorializing George Floyd and showing solidarity for Utah’s communities of color.
“While hate speech is covered by the First Amendment, hate speech inciting imminent illegal acts of violence is not, thus this neighborhood board being vandalized in such a manner goes well beyond what might be considered a prank,” the neighbor said.
Provo Police Sgt. Nisha King said the incident is under investigation and police have video footage of someone who might be involved in stealing the sign.
“If (people) have any information about the theft, then please send it to police,” King said. She said this is the only Black Lives Matter sign that she knows of that has been stolen in the city.
Unified police said on Facebook they are looking into reports of several Black Lives Matter signs being stolen from Millcreek residents last month.
“In late June, several residents in #Millcreek in the area of 3600 S 3100 (East) reported that they had Black Lives Matter signs stolen from their front yards,” the post said. “An individual was caught on the victim’s surveillance camera removing a sign from the victim yard and putting it in the suspect’s trunk.”
Police are asking the public to report any information related to the incidents.