Melrose mayor orders removal of ‘Safety of all lives matter’ traffic sign

MELROSE, Mass. — An electronic traffic sign in Melrose that read “The safety of all lives matter” has been taken down after drawing controversy, the mayor and police chief said Wednesday.

In a tweet, Mayor Paul Brodeur said he ordered the traffic sign on Main Street to be taken down “immediately.”

“(I) am taking steps to find out how this happened. I apologize to the residents of Melrose,” Brodeur said.

Melrose Police Chief Michael Lyle, in a statement released later Wednesday, said the sign contained “unfortunate and improper wording."

“A traffic officer was recently ordered to update the message from a reminder about fireworks being illegal to a more general traffic safety message,” Lyle said. “The message was updated with a reminder about obeying the speed limit, and the message ended with ‘the safety of all lives matter.’”

“I am aware that the phrase ‘all lives matter’ is commonly used as a misguided counter to the Black Lives Matter movement. The sign was immediately changed and at the request of the Mayor, I launched an investigation, which is ongoing,” the police chief said.

Lyle said the findings of the investigation will be made public.

“The officer reported to me that he did not post the message with either malicious or political intent,” Lyle said. “The officer, by his account, was trying to type a traffic safety message in the limited space offered by the electronic sign and did not realize the totality or impact of the words he had posted."

Lyle also apologized to residents.

“I sincerely apologize to our residents and anyone who drove past the sign today," he said.

The police chief said effective immediately, any roadway messages or electronic signage must be approved by his office prior to being posted.