A New Jersey family’s Halloween’s display depicting a man being hung from a noose sparked outrage from neighbors and the NAACP — which said it should be considered a hate crime, according to new reports.
Ryan McDonald displayed the stuffed, dark-complexioned dummy hanging from a wooden gallows-like structure in front of his Mannington, Salem County, home — and was forced to take it down when he received a flood of backlash, CBS Philly reported.
“The hangman’s noose was going to be a part of a pirate theme that we did, and I guess some people just thought it wasn’t quite appropriate,” McDonald told the station.
Beyond just being inappropriate, the display should be considered a hate crime, the local NAACP chapter says.
“Put a scarecrow up on a bale of hay, we don’t care,” Salem County NAACP President Nelson Carney Jr. told the station. “But if it has a noose around its neck, we don’t care what color. We’re not going to accept it.”
Salem County Prosecutor John Lenahan told NJ.com that he reported the hangman to state police, which has jurisdiction of that road.
A state trooper spoke to the resident and asked him to remove it because of public complaints — which he did, Lenahan said.
“It’s five weeks from Halloween and I hope this is the only complaint like this we get,” the prosecutor told the outlet.
The display was determined not to be a hate crime, according to Lenahan.
But the NAACP president told CBS Philly that the Office of the Attorney General is investigating.
McDonald insisted he didn’t intend to offend anyone with the display.
“I can understand why that would be an issue, but we’re not a racist family at all,” he told the station.
He’s also apologized and said he’ll never again put the same prop in front of his home, according to the report.
“At this time, I accept his apology,” Carney told the station. “But he needs to be educated more on the history of African Americans.”
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