A pro-LGBT billboard displayed by local police in the United Kingdom sparked outrage when it seemed to indicate the illegality of offensive thoughts. "Being offensive is an offence" the banner, prominently displayed on the back end of a police wagon by members of the Merseyside Police force, said.
Reaction from locals was quick and intense.
The blowback caused a quick retraction from Merseyside Police.
"We would like to clarify that 'being offensive' is not in itself an 'offense,'" Merseyside Police Superintendent Martin Earl said, admitting the message "was incorrect, and we apologize for any confusion this may have caused."
Still, despite the apology, the superintendent did qualify that "hate crimes" were still illegal and sometimes came in the form of verbal abuse.