Last week, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management said it was investigating a series of “racist and hateful” signs that were posted in Lincoln Woods State Park, WPRI reported on Thursday.
The metal signs, which were found attached to trees throughout the park, were designed to appear as if they were official posts from the Department of Environmental Management, matching the color and design of department posts that are used throughout Rhode Island state parks.
In a tweet on Thursday, the department shared photos of two of the fake signs. One advised park-goers not to play “loud Spanish music” in the area. The other sign, which purported to be a hiking challenge, advised blacks to go in one direction and Latinos in another direction while advising white to “go back.”
In its tweet, the department said the signs were posted illegally and affirmed that they were not Department of Environmental Protection signs.
In a second tweet, the department issued a condemnation of racism and discrimination and said its law enforcement division was investigating the acts as criminal vandalism.
Mike Healy, a spokesman for the Department of Environmental Management told WPRI that the signs were immediately removed. Calling the signs “discriminatory,” Healy said the department was sickened by them. He said the department would hate to think anyone would ever “feel intimidated or threatened” when visiting one of Rhode Island’s state parks.
Healy said the department is hopeful that the vandals who placed the “disgusting and hateful” signs are caught.
Watch WPRI’s report on the fake signs HERE.
The Law Enforcement Division of the Department of Environmental Management has asked that anyone with information on the signs should call (401) 222-2284.