Georgia Couple Defends Decision to Hang Dummies With Nooses on Halloween

A west Georgia couple expects to rehang three Halloween dummies with nooses around their necks that were torn down after a civil rights group protested the display.

The dummies in front of Tommy and Deborah McCann's house in LaGrange were taken down by someone between midnight Friday and 6:30 a.m. Saturday, but Tommy McCann said he is "99-percent sure" he will rehang the dummies.

The Troup County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People picketed the display Friday afternoon after the McCanns refused to take the display down despite requests from the organization, chapter president Ann D. Gray said. The chapter made the request through police because they did not feel comfortable going on to the McCann's property, Gray said.

She called the display "culturally insensitive."

"People were calling saying their children were disturbed by what they were seeing," Gray said. "Halloween is not hanging. Hanging is not Halloween."

Deborah McCann told the LaGrange Daily News the dummies represented a monster, a space alien and a white man.

Tommy McCann said the family intended no racial overtones with the display.

"We always decorate," he said. "We decorate for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Christmas is lit up over here."

LaGrange police said someone had phoned a death threat against Tommy McCann, leaving the message with a relative.

"They just throwed it all out of proportion," McCann said. "If they had come here and asked me nice, I probably would have took it down. But you know the way they handled it, why should I? I didn't do nothing wrong, and I didn't mean nothing by it."

McCann, who said he coaches a mostly black high school softball team and has an auction business, added, "I got black customers. They know I ain't racist. They're my friends. I ain't got no reason to be."

Gray said she had heard of other noose displays going up around LaGrange, including one that had dummies with faces painted black. Some residents are concerned the new displays are in response to the protest, she said.

LaGrange police had received no reports of new noose displays, Capt. Mike Pheil said.