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Missouri NAACP President: Rodeo Clown Committed a 'Hate Crime

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"A hate crime occurs when you use a person’s race to depict who they are and to make degrading comments, gestures, et cetera, against them."

This photo provided by Jameson Hsieh shows a clown wearing a mask intended to look like President Obama at the Missouri State Fair. The announcer asked the crowd if anyone wanted to see Obama run down by a bull, according to a spectator. So then everybody screamed. ... They just went wild, said Perry Beam, who attended the rodeo at the State Fair in Sedalia on Saturday Aug. 10, 2013. State Fair officials apologized calling the display inappropriate and disrespectful. (AP/Jameson Hsieh)

The rodeo clown who donned a mask of President Barack Obama at the Missouri State Fair committed a hate crime, the state's NAACP president said.

“I think that a hate crime has occurred,” Mary Ratliff said on KXNT Radio in Las Vegas. “I think a hate crime occurs when you use a person’s race to depict who they are and to make degrading comments, gestures, et cetera, against them.”

AP

“We are taxpayers in the state of Missouri,” Ratliff said in the Thursday interview, “and when taxpayer money is utilized to discredit and be disrespectful to our president, whether he be black, white, Hispanic, Latina…it is an outrage.”

Ratliff said the Missouri NAACP is asking the Department of Justice and the Secret Service to investigate the incident that earned national attention this week.

Voices from across the political spectrum have spoken out about the stunt in which the clown was chased around by a bull “to the delight of the onlookers hooting and hollering from the stands,” according to one witness.

Glenn Beck declared “Obama is not God!” on his radio broadcast Monday and then held a “Mock Obama Day” on Tuesday. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) urged Obama via Twitter on Friday to invite the clown to the White House to discuss their differences over "a beer summit." Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) invited the rodeo clown to perform in his home state.

But White House spokesman Josh Earnest, who's from Missouri, said Wednesday the incident was “not one of the finer moments” for his home state. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) called the stunt shameful and unacceptable.

The rodeo clown has been permanently banned from performing at the Missouri State Fair and fair officials have mandated sensitivity training for future performers.

(H/T: Weasel Zippers)

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