- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 8, 2015

“Blue Lives Matter” billboards honoring police have sprung up nationwide, but some Black Lives Matter supporters are arguing the campaign diminishes their cause.

A Memphis, Tennessee, branding agency called Tactical Magic started the #thankublu campaign to honor local police officers. Lamar Advertising based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, then donated more than 150 billboards nationwide to fund the campaign, a local Fox News affiliate reported.

The billboards have since popped up in Ohio, Georgia and Michigan. On Monday night, a digital billboard was first lit in Grand Rapids.

“Our law enforcement officers, they matter, but at the same time we also recognize and we know that every citizen that walks here in Grand Rapids, their life matters; every single one,” said Grand Rapids Police Department Sgt. Terry Dixon, Fox reported.

But some Black Lives Matter advocates are worried the campaign will take away from their message against police brutality.

“I think in some aspects it’s shameful that the brand is being co-opted, but once again it was never meant to say ‘only black lives matter,’ ” said Darel Ross, co-executive director of the nonprofit community development group LINC Community Revitalization Inc.

“Black lives matter was simply to call attention to a unique set of circumstances that was happening in the black community; and to any way undermine that, or belittle that, ultimately in no way shape or form adds to the relationship between police officers and the black community, or the community at large, because most people get it,” he said.

Cle Jackson, president of greater Grand Rapids’ NAACP chapter, said he understands the pro-cop message, but wished it was more “intentional.”

“I get it, in terms of what they’re trying to do in terms of this campaign. It promotes a sense of solidarity, but I think you have to be a little more intentional when doing that, if you really are trying to improve the relationships between communities across this country and law enforcement,” he told Fox.

“All lives matter right? So that’s why we came to the table in a very I think civil and sober manner with local law enforcement here to say how can we actually work together to improve community police relations,” Mr. Jackson said.

Police Chief David Lyons of Garden City, Georgia said he supports the general message.

“I would have to support it, with the caveat that all lives matter,” he told The Savannah Morning News. “Here in Garden City, we try to treat everybody fair and the way we would want to be treated.”

Lamar Advertising said the billboards will be on display through Nov. 6, Fox reported.

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