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Tue, March 02

Prescott responds to ‘offensive and abhorrent’ signs at local business
'We absolutely reject the message on the signs, and similar rhetoric'

Signs that city officials have termed “offensive and abhorrent” were posted recently at a local business off White Spar Road in Prescott.

In a news release on Wednesday afternoon, Jan. 20, the city stated that after its code inspectors spoke with the manager of the business earlier in the day, the manager “removed the signs from the city sidewalk to their private property, but insisted on keeping the content as is.”

The signs reportedly referred to “white pride month,” and also included a derogatory message about the President of the United States.

“We absolutely reject the message on the signs, and similar rhetoric,” said the city news release, adding, “However, the city is bound to uphold the constitutional rights of all citizens.”

Mayor Greg Mengarelli said Wednesday afternoon that he found the messages “very offensive.” He added, “I don’t think it’s a reflection of the views of the community.”

The news release noted that under the city code, such signs are considered temporary, “and in accordance with city code, are allowed to remain in place for up to 90 days.”

The city statement adds, “Speech, regardless of how offensive, is protected by the 1st Amendment, and the owner of the sign has the same protections as the news media, demonstrators, or those on social media.”

The Daily Courier is not reprinting what was on the signs, along the lines of graffiti, to not encourage such behavior.

The city, which has responded similarly to racially offensive comments in the past, states, “Over the past several years, the City of Prescott has supported events that encourage dialogue and understanding, including most recently, the virtual celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Other events sponsored by the city include a virtual town hall for teens, entitled Better Together, where local youth discussed race, diversity, and inclusion together in a professionally facilitated event. The mayor continues dialogue with groups and citizens who are concerned about these matters.”

Noting that the city “embraces, welcomes, supports, and serves people of all backgrounds within the community and city organization,” the news release adds, “We champion diversity and welcome individual perspectives, backgrounds and opinions. In December of 2019, Mayor Greg Mengarelli and Prescott City Council received the Civic and Community Conscience Award from the NAACP Arizona State Conference. The city will be engaging in racial sensitivity training for our entire staff in the coming year.”

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