Both Sides Speak Out on Controversial Political Display

Posted at: 11/02/2012 7:19 PM
Updated at: 11/02/2012 9:38 PM
By: Dietrich Nissen

(ABC 6 News) -- On Friday, several civil rights groups called a homemade political display in southwest Rochester, racist. KAAL-TV broke the news of the chair tied to a noose on Monday evening.

Since then, its garnered nationwide attention. On Friday afternoon, the Council on Black Minnesotans and the local NAACP chapter demanded it be taken down.

For a number of people driving along 40th street Southwest, it was hard to miss the eye-catching display.

"It just made me absolutely cringe inside, it made me sick to my stomach," says one passerby, Will Morrison.

"That sends the wrong message to all children in Rochester, Minnesota, which is a diverse community," says another passerby, Isidra Travis.

Earlier in the day, the Council on Black Minnesotans urged the homeowners to take it down.

"We don't live in a country like that. We don't live in a state like that. We don't live in a city like that. Take it down. To me it's that blatant, I mean, it's to me I was talking to some other friends about it, and it's not a negotiation thing. Take. That. Thing. Down. It is offensive. It is racist. Take it down," says Donavan Bailey, a board member and Rochester Committee Chair of the Council on Black Minnesotans.

"I'm a terrible, terrible, terrible person and even the Devil don't want me in hell, ya know," says homeowner, Kevin Mulholland, sarcastically. He and his wife, Laura, say they're exercising their freedom of speech and feel they've been unfairly portrayed.

"Would you say it's unfair?" asks the reporter.

"Yes, well yeah. I mean this guy is terrible, he's bad. Worst president ever," says Kevin Mulholland. Both he and Laura defend the noose and chair saying they're not meant to be a threat, despite the historical connotations some are drawing.

"Given the history of America, and the noose, and African Americans, I mean, ya know, you got to see the connection?" asks the reporter.

"That was all down south. That was all down south and that was the Democrats that were hanging the Blacks for voting Republican," says the Mulhollands.

The pair say they'll take the display down after the election, but for some, that's not soon enough.

Some of the people against the chair say they want to rally outside the Mulholland's home. While the Mulhollands say others who support them will hang chairs of their own.