Neighbors question 'hanging' Barack Obama display


Update: The display has been taken down. The resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, tells Eyewitness News that the attention he's been getting is "mentally exhausting." He says he also considered the safety of his family.

An Iraq war veteran is explaining his controversial front yard Halloween display. It depicts the death of President Barack Obama. A viewer let us know about the display up for everyone to see at one of the busiest crossroads in Boone County.

Anyone driving through the intersection of State Roads 47 and 39 can get a good look at the controversial display. An effigy of the president hangs in a noose, and a mask of Obama is used for the face of the hanging man. 

The man who put it up did not want to go on camera, but he did talk to us about the meaning and his motive.

"I am a disabled vet. I lost my eye in Iraq fighting for these freedoms. I should be able to express them," he said.

This former soldier did not want his face shown, but the face he put on the dummy hanging from a noose in his front yard has his neighbors concerned. It's a Halloween mask of President Barack Obama.

"I won't be voting for Obama. I guess you can say by him being out there hanging, it is time to get rid of him," said the man, who added that he won't be voting for Mitt Romney, either.

His neighbors aren't too thrilled.

"It's kind of embarrassing," said Mary Walkup, who spoke to Eyewitness News along with her daughter Amanda Wetzel.

Wetzel says she supports freedom of speech, but this simply goes overboard.

"If you are decorating for Halloween, you don't have to go to that extreme to get your political views out there," said Walkup.

"He has enough decorations already. Why does he have to have that one? If it is causing that big of a problem why not just take it down?" said Wetzel.

They would rather he take it down, and they say the homeowner is sending the wrong message not only to his own three children, but to students who see the display passing by on the school bus every day.

The Obama mask is part of a death theme which includes an execution chair, casket and a Living Dead character, with plans to add more items.

This is the second time this fall the former soldier has used the Obama mask on display. He took it down a couple of months ago after getting heat from his neighbors.

The homeowner insists despite history's civil rights stigma about hangings, his display is not racist.

The display is getting a wide range of reactions from drivers as they pass by. The Iraqi veteran says they would be surprised to learn about his wife.

"I am married to an African-American woman so I guess it would be hard to say I am a racist against black people," he said.

"It's my yard. If you want to pay my bills then you can tell me what I can and cannot put up," the man added.

There may not be relief anytime soon for the controversial display for neighbors. The homeowner plans to leave it up past Halloween, and depending who wins the election, for the next four years.

The Secret Service investigated the display and spoke to the homeowner. They determined there was no threat to the president.