Bay City Man's Porch Display Upsets Neighbors 7-13-2010 - WNEM TV 5

Bay City Man's Porch Display Upsets Neighbors 7-13-2010

Residents in one Bay City neighborhood are complaining to the city about one man’s political statement.
Neighbors say the dummy hanging from a noose on a porch on Station Street is racist and much too graphic for a family atmosphere.
At first, the city said the man’s display could stay, citing his First Amendments rights. But with more complaints from residents pouring in, officials are giving the lynched bloody figure a second look.
People living near the home say the display has been there for years, but time hasn’t kept it from continuing to shock and upset people.
TV5 found the homeowner outside and he explained who the dummy represents. “[It’s] Osama Bin Laden out on the front porch,” said the man, who declined to give his name.
He said it’s his home and his decision to keep the exhibit up. “It's nobody's business but mine,” he said. “What about the people who have to look at it?” asked TV5 reporter Liz Gelardi. “Well, what do I care about them?” responded the man.
Neighbors said they've gone to Bay City officials to ask if there's anything the city can do. “We've called the city and [officials said] that's basically freedom of speech,” said neighbor Tiffany McFarland.
TV5 also asked Mayor Charles Brunner about it. “If it starts being offensive to people, then we'll start looking into it to see what we can do,” said Brunner.
“To have a lynching of a dummy on a front porch, obviously, you know, it's black people, and it's offensive,” said Sasha Robinson, who had just driven past the home.
The man insists he’s making a statement and it’s his right. “Well, do I look like a racist to you dear, huh? I look like a tired old man, that's what I look like,” he said.
Unless the city says otherwise, neighbors and anyone driving by will see the display for the foreseeable future.
TV5 posted the story on our Facebook page earlier Tuesday, and within minutes more than 50 comments were posted.
Sign on or sign up to tell us what you think -- is it free speech or does it go too far?
VOTE: Does one man's display showing what he says is a lynched Osama Bin Laden effigy fall under Freedom of Speech -- or does it go too far?
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