Highland, Indiana’s town council meeting Monday night was interrupted when an image showing a caption reading “I DON’T LIKE (N-word)S” appeared on a large screen that normally displays the agenda and informational graphics, resulting in an investigation from the Highland Police Department, according to multiple reports.
The image, which portrayed a Black man wearing overalls, a blond wig and no shirt, according to the Daily Beast, made its way onto the screen through an image sharing feature that allows residents to send in images, the Post-Tribune reported.
The city’s IT director, Ed Dabrowski, removed the image after about 20 seconds, apologized and explained that no one had ever used that feature for nefarious purposes, the Post-Tribune reported.
Dabrowski told the Post-Tribune he’d disable the feature in the future and said he will ask the software company to provide him with the information of who it was that sent in the image.
The Highland Police Department is investigating the incident.
Toya Smith, a Democrat, is the only Black member on the council, but she lost an election earlier this month to a Republican and will be leaving her post soon. Her colleagues on the council came to her support after the racist message, with Republican Mark Schocke calling it “blatant racism,” and “despicable,” adding that “it’s not welcome here, and we shouldn’t tolerate it in any way. Whoever did this, you’re not welcome here, and it’s a shame that in 2023, we’re still dealing with it.”
Smith addressed the incident during the comment portion of the meeting, according to the Post-Tribune, saying she was “so disgusted right now that we cannot get past racism.” She continued: “I want Highland or whoever put it up there to know that this (N-word) will be coming back. I’m not defeated, but it is disgusting. And I want to thank the voters who allowed this (N-word) to make history, to serve, and I’ll be back.”
Highland Police investigating racial epithet broadcast during council meeting (Post-Tribune)