Authorities in South Carolina’s city of Sumter have charged a 17-year-old in connection with altering a state sign and having it display a racial slur. According to WIS-TV, the suspect allegedly made the sign display the statement, “Honk if you hate n***ers.”
Sumter police said the suspect was in custody at the time of this report, and he faces an aggravated breach of peace charge. Surveillance footage of the location where the sign was mounted reportedly showed a man walking in that area around the time it was breached and altered.
Police said the Department of transportation mounted the sign at South Pike West to notify drivers about a construction project in progress. A paving company contracted to execute the project owned the sign. The suspect reportedly tampered with the sign on Saturday, and officers were informed about it around 4:30 PM. The statement was subsequently removed from the sign.
“We will investigate this to the fullest,” Chief Russell Roark said, adding that the racist statement was deeply disturbing. “A scar on the city and its residents that is in no way indicative of the community where we work and live.”
The Sumter Police Department said they’re still investigating the incident. Since the suspect is considered a juvenile under S.C. law, his name was not released.