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Dummy hanging from gallows in yard called 'hate crime' by local NAACP president. But homeowner says it was for Halloween.


A Confederate flag also was spotted in backyard

Image source: KYW-TV video screenshot

A New Jersey homeowner is apologizing and insisting "we're not a racist family at all" after a dummy hanging from gallows and a noose was spotted in his yard, KYW-TV reported.

Ryan McDonald told the station the display outside his Mannington home was for Halloween.

"The hangman's noose was going to be a part of a pirate theme that we did, and I guess some people just thought it wasn't quite appropriate," he added to KYW.

Image source: KYW-TV video screenshot

You can count Salem County NAACP President Nelson Carney Jr. among them.

'It's a hate crime'

"It's a hate crime is the way I look at it," Carney told Thursday. "I know it's Halloween, but people should know better."

He added to KYW: "Put a scarecrow up on a bale of hay, we don't care. But if it has a noose around its neck, we don't care what color. We're not going to accept it."

Salem County NAACP President Nelson Carney Jr.Image source: KYW-TV video screenshot

After hearing about the display, Salem County Prosecutor John Lenahan told he reported it to police and that a state trooper spoke to the resident and asked him to remove the display from public view due to complaints about it.

Carney added to that he went by the home in question around 3:30 p.m. Thursday, and the gallows was laying on its side in the yard along with the dummy with the noose still around its neck.

Image source: KYW-TV video screenshot

"It was just something to, you know, set up for Halloween as an actual prop to have fun," McDonald added to KYW. "And I apologize to anybody that took it in any type of ill-mannered way."

Confederate flag

But KYW said when its news team showed up at the residence, a Confederate flag was spotted in the backyard from the highway.

McDonald told the station he didn't put up the flag but did take it down.

"I can understand why that would be an issue, but we're not a racist family at all," he added to KYW.

McDonald also called a friend who told the station of his character.

"He doesn't mean anything bad by it," Ian Goode was heard saying over the phone, KYW noted. "But I do know people, and I don't know if I would do that."

Image source: KYW-TV video screenshot

Anything else?

Carney told KYW the Office of the Attorney General was investigating the display as a possible hate crime, but the station said it didn't received a response from the attorney general's office in regard to the display.

Lenahan told that authorities determined the display was not a hate crime.

McDonald added to KYW he won't be displaying the prop again — which comes as a relief to the local NAACP president.

"At this time, I accept his apology," Carney told the station, "but he needs to be educated more on the history of African Americans."

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