GRANSTVILLE, Md (WDVM) – A decoration on a front lawn of a house in Garrett County depicting a hanged figure has sparked controversy this week, inciting accusations of racist motivations.
The image originally popped up on social media sparking an outcry from the public, including local officials.
Congressman David Trone responded on Twitter, calling it a “Racist, abhorrent hanging effigy” and said he is contacting local authorities and officials to support taking it down.
The individual responsible for the decoration is Jesse Merrill who said the dummy has been hanging from that tree for several years.
“It’s not racist, it is what you see it it is,” Merriill said. “I mean, if you think it’s racist then I guess it is racist or whatever. But I’m not racist, it’s just a dummy. Filled with trash, that’s all it is.”
Merrill said the hanging dummy started out as a tire swing and has been up ever since, serving as a halloween decoration.
When asked about the Trone’s comments, Merrill said it has no racist intentions.
“He pretty well made me out to be a racist guy and I’m not racist, I’m not prejudice, I’m not anything,” Merrill said. I’m just an average guy that gets along with everybody.”
Merrill said the dummy is his property and he will do with it what he wants.
When asked why he has Halloween decorations still up in June, Merrill responded that he also hasn’t taken down his Christmas lights.