JANESVILLE, Wis. (WMTV) - A woman from Whitewater said she wanted to share a message of love and acceptance after somebody put what she said was a threatening bumper sticker on her car.
Kim Simes said she was shopping at the Festival Foods in Janesville the Saturday before Thanksgiving when she walked out to find someone had placed a sticker that read “Second Amendment- Our Original Homeland Security” next to her bumper sticker supporting LGBTQ families.
Simes said she was scared for her safety, as she did not know if the person was still around waiting for her to react.
“It really took my breath away. It felt like they were saying something about my bumper sticker about love equality and family, and for a brief second this person is watching me and waiting for a reaction,” she said.
On Sunday, the Janesville Police Department was able to identify the suspect after posting his photo to Facebook.
Sgt. Dean Sukus of the Janesville Police Department said the man was cited for disorderly conduct.
“He admitted to putting the sticker on, but really wouldn’t give a reason as to why he had done it,” Sukus said.
She said she is glad her daughters were not with her when she went out to shop that day.
“I feel like there is such a license for people to express their hate, and being in a family like mine it’s not something that feels ok,” Simes said.
Simes said she wanted to share the message that we should all focus on being kind.
“My bumper sticker didn’t have anything to do with guns or the second amendment, and that is where he took it. So it’s OK for us to disagree, we can disagree all day long. But at the end of the day we can be kind to each other,” she said.
Sukus said even though these types of cases can be difficult to prosecute, damaging someone’s property is never ok.
“I don’t think it’s his place to force his opinion on others and try to deface somebody else’s property, just in the interest of his own opinion of that subject matter,” he said.
Janesville Mobilizing 4 Change (JM4C) released the following statement:
The incident at Festival Foods and incidents like this serve to undermine the inclusive, safe, and welcoming community that we are working to create…. This incident serves as a reminder that prejudice still exists and as a community we need to increase our own understanding of LGBTQ+ people. It is essential to recognize and speak up against intolerance.