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Controversial 'white pride' billboards taken down in Harrison

Controversial 'white pride' billboards taken down in Harrison (KATV) 

For anyone driving highway 65 North, they've grown used to seeing billboards promoting white pride.

However, as of last week, two of those signs one denouncing diversity as white genocide came down.

"We're not that way here in Harrison."

Harrison Mayor Dan Sherrell says he's thrilled to see the sign that's become a black eye for his community finally be removed.

He says for years the city's convention and visitor's bureau has fought endlessly to promote an image of diversity and inclusion contrary to the beliefs of a select few who live outside the city limits.

"I know it's going to be great for our city because we won't have those people driving into Harrison seeing a sign like that and 'oh, what kind of community is this?' That just sticks in their mind and it'll remove some of that," said Sherrell.

Attorneys with Sprott, Golden and Bardwell who represent the billboard's property owner say the billboard's message has haunted the owner for years...especially given the fact the owner had adopted a child with a minority background.

"So it weighed heavily on her, but it was a misunderstanding of what the law was, and because she became aware of what the law actually is she felt like it was time," said attorney Kelsey Bardwell.

Attorneys found that a state highway permit allowing the billboard had expired, creating a breach contract which allowed the property owner to request the signs come down.

The billboard's owner now making sure she puts language in future billboard contracts to allow vetoing power over any messages deemed unsavory.

"She wants to replace that negative message with something positive."

One white pride sign, a billboard promoting a white pride radio station, is still up in Harrison. Just a year ago there were four billboards in the area. Bardwell said she's certain the white supremacist group that's been behind the previous billboards will likely seek other properties to post new billboards on, but she wants to let landowners know that they have rights to restrict speech if they choose to do so.


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