Effigies of President Barack Obama were reported this week in both southern California and North Carolina, including one allegedly using the racist imagery to bring attention to a miscarriage of justice.
The Riverside Press-Enterprise reported Wednesday that U.S. Secret Service agents visited a local homeowner after he used an Obama Halloween mask on a human figure he hung from a tree in his front yard.
“This is just a misunderstanding,” Eddie Million said. “This is getting all blown out of proportion. It’s down. It’s gone. We didn’t want to hurt the president.”
Million said he used the hanging figure as a party decoration because it was “spooky,” but took it down after talking to local police on Monday.
“If I had it to do all over again, I absolutely wouldn’t have done it,” Million said. “It was not meant to offend anybody.”
Another effigy of the president was seen in North Carolina Tuesday. Bossip reported that the hanging figure was spotted at the North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh, as part of a traveling display previously seen in New York City and in Charlotte during the Democratic National Convention.
The Obama figure is part of a display that also includes mannequins representing North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue and a state Superior Court Judge, W. Douglas Parsons, designed by a man calling himself “Patriot Phipps” on his YouTube channel.
“Patriot Phipps” said the display, which he hauls around on the back of a truck, is an attempt to goad authorities into investigating the death of William Henry Phipps, a relative who was killed while driving with his father years ago.
In a video he published earlier this year, he suggests that this means of protest is a preferable to more violent actions.
“Wouldn’t it have been better for Timothy McVeigh to do this, than what he done?,” he said, citing the man behind the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995. “We have nothing else.”
The Press-Enterprise’s report on Million’s display and the ensuing reaction from its readers, posted on YouTube Wednesday, can be seen below.