Society

Illinois Business Posts Sign Targeting Michael Brown

| by Lauren Briggs

An Illinois business owner known for his inflammatory remarks has targeted the Black Lives Matter movement.

"Congrats Michael Brown one year with no criminal behavior,” the controversial sign in front of Schmidt’s Welding and Machine Shop in Farmer City, Illinois, read on Aug. 11 and 12, reports The News-Gazette.

Phil Schmidt, the owner of the business, stood by his remark, just days after the one-year anniversary of a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer killing unarmed black teenager Michael Brown. According to Schmidt, he often puts up similar signs and enjoys stirring the pot.

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"It is what it is — all these people in Ferguson going crazy over a guy that broke the law three times that day, tried to kill a cop, tried to get his gun, it's crazy," Schmidt said.

“What they’re doing to cops makes me sick,” he added.

The business owner told reporters he uses the sign as a way to speak out against national issues. The U.S. has lost its “moral compass,” he said.

"I'm not going to dance around somebody because I might hurt somebody's feelings," he said. "Everybody knows the way I feel about these things."

Officials were not going try to force the man to remove the message, but that doesn’t mean that everybody is on board with Schmidt publicizing his radical beliefs.

“That is absolutely sad,” the city’s major, Mike Jenkins, said.

"When you do something like that, unfortunately it paints a picture of our entire community," added Jenkins, who reportedly did not know about the sign until Aug. 12. "There's no reason for that."

Many anti-Brown comments have been publicly displayed around the anniversary of his death. According to Inquisitr, a Facebook user published a photograph of a memorial plaque skewering Brown, calling him a “thug” who “bum-rushed a cop.”

“Six bullets later/ He met his creator/ Then his homies burnt down the town,” a portion read, sparking a vicious debate.

According to The News-Gazette, Schmidt removed the Michael Brown message on his sign on the afternoon of Aug. 12, according to Police Chief Andrew Denno, who told reporters the sign now displayed a critique on the BP oil spill and the government.

Sources: The News-Gazette, Inquisitr / Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons