A digital billboard with personalized COVID-19 thank you messages to first responders has generated controversy as it featured an image of a killer LAPD cop and a disparaging slogan targeting police.
"I just thought it was disgusting," said Lt. Craig Lally, Los Angeles Police Protective League president. "He murdered four people, three of which were law enforcement officers. And they have family, spouses, friends. They're forced to live with the acts of Dorner for the rest of their lives. So I was pretty disgusted by it."
Former LAPD Officer Christopher Dorner, the target of a two-week manhunt, left a trail of death and fear in its wake in February 2013.
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It made headlines around the world. NBCLA viewers spotted the digital billboard in at least three places: off the 405 in Carson, on the 10 Freeway near the 605 and in Orange County.
The company behind the digital billboards says it was part of an affordable campaign to let regular people thank first responders in the aftermath of the COVID pandemic. What they didn't realize is how it could have been manipulated.
"We don't take this lightly," said Bishop l.J. Guillory, of Bulletin Displays. "Blame it on our oversight, not our heart. It was our intention to do good but as grandma used to say, no good deed goes undone without some form of punishment."
It contained alleged messages from wiki-leaks founder Julian Assange and fugitive former CIA agent Edward Snowden mixed in with thoughtful messages to real-life pandemic heroes.
"This was a glitch," Guillory said. "It was not a personal attempt on our part or anyone's part to hurt to the families that have already been hurt."
Dorner's image is now gone. The company said it was removed within 24 hours of the error being realized. But it's also led to the end of the campaign itself, which raised thousands of dollars for local fire departments and hospitals.