Another pro-police billboard defaced in St. Louis

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ST. LOUIS (KPLR) For the second time in a month, someone has vandalized a billboard pledging support of local law enforcement officers.

The most recent case happened along South Hampton Avenue near Nottingham Avenue.

Recently, a passerby noticed that the billboard had been covered with hateful words and symbols.

The sign, which read "We Support Law Enforcement," featured the silhouette of an officer. It had been tagged with crosshairs and the word, 'don't'.

"How would you like to be married to a police officer and see that very public display of hatred and violence against one of your loved ones?" asked Jeff Roorda, business manager of the St. Louis Police Officers Association. "It's somebody that's motivated by hatred."

The graffiti is similar to that found on a defaced billboard last month, near Gravois Avenue and Arsenal Street. That billboard also featured crosshairs and similar language.

Roorda said The National Fraternal Order of Police would like to get a law passed that would make such crimes treated as a hate crime.

"Where a person's occupation or race or identity is the source of violence and hatred against them," he said.

Roorda, author of, "Ferghanistan: The War on Police," said attitudes toward law enforcement have taken a turn since the shooting death of Michael Brown in 2014.

The organization, St. Louis Area Support our LEO (Law Enforcement Officers) Group has installed nearly two dozen billboards, all with the same message. The group's founder, Trish Dennison, says support has grown tremendously over the past few weeks, particularly over social media.

The group plans to replace the vandalized billboard with a digital billboard, at a different location.

Dennison said the billboards are part of an ongoing campaign that aims to reach other parts of the St. Louis metropolitan area.