“I saw it and I was immediately sickened,” Kathy Willie, a Siler family friend, told the newspaper.
“They are basically thanking Kenosha for shooting and killing Aaron and shooting and injuring Terry Knight,” Willie told the Kenosha News. “I was so hurt.”
“To me that doesn’t make the department look good,” she said. “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?”
Police say Siler was wanted on a felony probation and parole warrant, according to the AP, and was involved in a car chase on the morning of his death. Police said Siler crashed, took off on foot and then “armed himself with a weapon” before Torres shot him.
The billboard went up amidst a larger national conversation about law enforcement tactics and policing in the United States. Crowds have gathered in Baltimore for days to protest the death of Freddie Gray, who died in police custody; similar demonstrations have also occurred in Ferguson, Mo., New York and other cities across the country.
“The recent incidents in the community have greatly impacted many people including the officer, his family and the entire police department,” the Kenosha Professional Police Association said in a statement, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We have been humbled by the outpouring of support the community has given us and we wanted to simply say thank you for that support.”