A piece of graffiti in Atlanta depicting Elmer Fudd dressed as a policeman, shotgun in hand, in front of a sign announcing “Negro Season,” has people debating whether the graffiti is a message of hate toward Blacks or a commentary on police brutality meant to mock police as unjustified and incompetent.
Police are investigating who painted the image on the side of the Allied Barton Building in Midtown Atlanta, which was first noticed on Friday and remained throughout the weekend. It was painted over on Monday.
“It’s not overtly clear if this is a jab at police in the vein of Black Lives Matter, or if it is intended to be a message with racist overtones,” according to WGCL-TV CBS46 in Atlanta, which reported the story.
Those who feel the image is meant to mock police point to the fact that Elmer Fudd’s usual hunting clothes have been replaced with a police uniform, and Fudd was usually portrayed as simple, bumbling and incompetent and unjustified in his attacks on Bugs Bunny.
“I could see how the artist could be making a political statement,” said one bystander, a woman who is Black.
“I think it’s offensive to anyone. It’s sickening,” Atlanta police Sgt. Greg Lyon told TV station WXIA. “Clearly people have a First Amendment right to express their opinion about whatever they want, draw pictures … but you need to do it on your own property. Don’t do it on someone else’s property.It’s against the law.”
Atlanta police are reviewing area surveillance footage and asking the public for tips. The image does appear to be done with some level of artistic talent, and police said an art school is located nearby.
Atlanta’s CBS affiliate station spoke with various locals who were divided on the intended message, including students from the aforementioned art school.
“This makes people feel unsafe and uncomfortable,” said a Black man. A group of white teens said the message was clearly meant “to intimidate Black people.”
Another Black woman, meanwhile, said the image depicts police hunting Black people. “I’m seeing the police with a gun, and the sign says ‘Negro season,’ which means that the police are killing the Blacks.”