The Secret Service visited a California man earlier this week after he hung an effigy of President Barack Obama in his front yard.
Eddie Million told The Press Enterprise that he was trying to make his Moreno Valley, California home look “scary” for the upcoming Halloween season, but stepped too far.
“I started thinking how bad it looked, and I took it down immediately,” Million told reporters after being questioned by Secret Service agents on Tuesday. “If I had it to do all over again, I absolutely wouldn’t have done it. It was not meant to offend anybody. It was just supposed to be a decoration.”
Million’s neighbors were upset by his choice of decoration and questioned his views on race and the president. Those exchanges led to local media reports and a visit from local police at the beginning of the week. Million insisted that it was for his not-so-annual Halloween party.
“We decorate big … A noose is scary. It’s Halloween,” he said. “We have zombies in the back — figures, ghosts, zombies.
“[The Secret Service] said that (incident) could have been construed as a threat to the president,” Million added. “They said my name is going to be on file. They said they’re just going to make a note.”
This is hardly the first time the president has been hung in effigy since he was elected. Terry Jones, the Quran-burning pastor hung one outside of his church in June. In England last year, a conservative party student association burned an effigy of the President.
They also argued that their actions were not intentionally racist.
Inflammatory displays — whatever their actual intents or purposes — have grown increasingly controversial as the nation approaches Election Day. A speech at the Republican National Convention by actor Clint Eastwood to an empty seat that was supposed to represent Obama set off a wave of empty chair “lynching” displays.
Others have been more direct and vitriolic. A yard sign in Aspen, Colo. that read “Kill Obama” recently drew the attention of the Secret Service, who paid the property owner a visit.