A Black resident of Lansing, Illinois was extremely offended by her neighbor’s Halloween display which she said resembled a Black man being lynched.
Toya Griffin told NWI Times her 15-year-old daughter, a sophomore at Thornton Fractional South High School, was the one who discovered the figure on her way to school while on the phone with her mom.
“My daughter suddenly said, ‘Oh, my god,’ and tried to explain what she saw,” Griffin told Yahoo Lifestyle.
Griffin asked her daughter to send a photo of the display which was a Black mannequin with a rope around its neck while hanging from a tree and its limbs tied together.
“It’s the same manner as a lynching,” said Griffin.
The 37-year-old mother immediately phoned the police afterward and reported the display. However, an officer told her that because it was Halloween “he didn’t feel it was offensive.”
Griffin and her sister came face-to-face with the homeowner of the figure.
“The owner came outside, and my sister asked her, ‘Do you see anything wrong with this?'” the mother noted. “She refused to take it down and said, ‘I have friends who are Black.'”
The scene was recorded by nearby neighbors on Facebook Live which drew an angry online presence.
Ken Reynolds, a Lansing spokesman told NWI that the Halloween decoration was not meant to depict a lynching. The homeowner added that she didn’t mean to offend anyone.
“There was absolutely no racial intent here of any kind,” said Reynolds.
Police officials arrived on scene and can be heard in the Facebook video saying, “So, apparently, this had a Jason mask on before and somebody stole it. … It does not sound like there was any ill intent.”
However, officers made the homeowners remove the Black mannequin.
Griffin’s daughter is still upset and currently takes a different route to school. The 37-year-old mother said she doesn’t understand how people wouldn’t find the display culturally insensitive.
“It took three phone calls, a crowd of neighbors, and a Facebook Live video before this was removed,” Griffin told the news outlet. “The police are supposed to represent the best interests of the community — which consists largely of African-Americans whose ancestors have a history of being lynched. Slavery and racism affect people every day.”