A white man in western Michigan said a noose he hung in a window of his home, attracting controversy and a police response, was a statement against corrupt politicians and had nothing to do with race.
Greg Kazemier said the noose was in the window for three days but he took it down after a neighbor told him about posts on social media saying it was racially offensive.
“I’m not like that,” he told local station WOOD-TV. “I like all people. It had nothing to do with color. A noose is an equal opportunity employer.”
Kazemier, 59, said his ire was aimed at elected officials in Washington.
“I think the corrupt politicians should be hung,” Kazemier said. “[The noose] has nothing to do with race. I’ve been down here for 11 years. I’ve never had a problem with any of my neighbors. I love it down here.”
Kazemier’s neighborhood is in Grand Rapids’ Third Ward, which has the highest Black population in the city at about 33.7%, according to WOOD-TV.
A hangman’s noose is symbolic of the lynching of Black people, mostly in southern states, stretching back to the days of slavery and the Jim Crow era of official segregation that followed.
It is mostly used now in efforts to intimidate and instill fear, often with racist intent.
During the deadly assault on the US Capitol in Washington by supporters of Donald Trump on 6 January, some protesters seeking to overturn the presidential election erected a gallows and noose outside Congress.
Some were heard to chant “Hang Mike Pence”, aimed at the vice-president who refused to attempt to block certification of Joe Biden’s clear electoral victory.
Grand Rapids police said they investigated a report about the noose, but it had been removed by the time officers arrived at the home.