The ad placed by the Kenosha Professional Police Association thanking the community for its support portrays Officer Pablo Torres, who shot 26-year-old Aaron Slier to death last March during a ten-day period in which he shot two people.
Police say Slier confronted Torres with a weapon, and that particular case is under investigation.
“To me that [the billboard] doesn’t make the department look good,” Kathy Willie, a spokesperson for the Siler family, told The Guardian. “What are they trying to say? Are they trying to say he’s not guilty and they know that for a fact? Why are they thanking him?”
Kenosha News has called on the KPPA to take down the billboard.
“The billboard, and events such as the Back the Badge rally in Pennoyer Park on Saturday, may be intended as support for law enforcement and appreciation for that support, but they could also be seen as attempts to intimidate people who might criticize the police.”
Detective Pete Deates, president of KPPA, delivered the following statement regarding the billboard’s intended message.
“The recent incidents in the community have greatly impacted many people including the officer, his family, and the entire police department,” Deates said. “We have been humbled by the outpouring of support the community has given us and we simply wanted to say, thank you.”