LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Civil-rights leaders Monday called for an investigation into what they described as a racially offensive campaign against local Congresswoman Maxine Waters.
Posters featuring a black-and-white illustration of Waters bordered with the words "Poverty Pimp" have been plastered on streets and near freeways and businesses throughout Los Angeles, Inglewood and the South Bay.
KNX 1070's Claudia Peschiutta reports the ad portrays a wrinkled caricature of Waters depicted with red dollar signs in her eyes and the words "N----s Betta Have My Money!" behind her.
The ads were captured in images posted online in front of such Southern California landmarks as The Forum and Randy's Donuts in Inglewood, and even allegedly in front of Waters' private residence in Hancock Park.
Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable President Earl Ofari Hutchinson and other activists began taking down the posters at various locations Sunday and are demanding a "fast track investigation" by the California Fair Political Practices Commission.
"We're highly offended, we're disgusted by it, we hope this is not the start of something that we'll continue to see not only in politics, but beyond in Southern California," said Hutchinson.
While it's unknown who is behind the posters, there was no indication Waters' Republican opponent in Tuesday's election, political writer John Wood Jr., had anything to do with the campaign.
In response to the report, Wood released the following statement: "All I can say is that, people have a right to free speech, but that I represent a fundamentally different brand of politics. Whatever people think of Maxine Waters, we should try to call attention to our differences and challenge our opponents on them without being disrespectful. That's really what my campaign has been about."
"We didn't think that it was her opponent," Hutchinson told KCAL9's Cristy Fajardo. "Maxine's a shoe-in, which made it even worse, because if it's not an opponent and it's not a campaign tactic, as dirty as it is, what's behind it?"
There was no immediate response to a request for comment from Waters.
The Democratic lawmaker is up for reelection Tuesday in California's 43rd District, which includes Inglewood, Hawthorne and Torrance.
In 2009, posters of President Obama as the joker started popping up on overpasses around Los Angeles. Hutchinson believes the same group could be responsible.
"Whoever is doing this, don't hide in the shadows. Don't be anonymous. Don't be a coward. Come forward," said Hutchinson.
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