By Elisha Anderson
Detroit Free Press Staff Writer
A racial slur appeared on a portable road sign along westbound I-94 in Detroit early today after the sign was hacked, officials said.
Motorists began calling police shortly before 1 a.m. to report the message, which was an apparent reference slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. The message, calling Trayvon a racial epithet, was on a sign near Michigan Avenue, MDOT spokesman Rob Morosi said.
Martin, 17, was shot to death in Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26 by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who told police he acted in self-defense. A special prosecutor is now investigating the case.
The racial message was up for about an hour before it was changed back to the original message warning of upcoming road construction.
“Someone either pulled over to the side of the road or walked down the slope, broke into the cabinet and changed the message,” Morosi said.
The cabinet houses a keyboard and hard drive for the sign, he said.
MDOT is working with the Michigan State Police to try to determine who is responsible.
It’s not the first time a sign has been hacked — but in the past people put messages up warning of zombies, ghosts or goblins, Morosi said.
“Nothing ever to the extent of the inappropriateness that we’ve seen here,” Morosi said.