Apology Required Before Noose Comes Down

Stephanie Tsoflias, Waterman Broadcasting Corporation (Fort Myers, Florida), October 11, 2007

A man has hung a noose in his front yard and now he’s threatening to hang even more. He said he never meant to offend anyone, but at least one police officer says he has a problem with it.

Mike Whiteaker proudly hangs the noose in front of his home and says it’s supposed to be all in good fun.

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But some say it’s his yard and his house so he should be able to do what he wants.

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Whiteaker says he’s had the hangman’s noose in his front yard for four years. He says an African American Punta Gorda police officer has brought attention to it because he’s offended by it.

Whiteaker: He wants to make a statement.

Reporter: Isn’t that what you’re doing?

Whiteaker: Yes, it is.

Reporter: A lot of people are offended by this.

Whiteaker: Who is offended by it? The people who aren’t from the South?

Reporter: It offends [the police officer.] You don’t care that it offends him?

Whiteaker: Yeah, I do.

Reporter: Do you?

Whiteaker: Yeah. He thinks because he’s a police man, he can come over here and tell me what I can and can’t do.

But police can’t tell him to take the noose down because he’s not breaking the law.

It’s not a crime to hang a noose—but some say maybe it should be.

{snip}

When Whiteaker was asked if he thinks he will ever take the noose down he said, “If I knew it was going to cause this much trouble, I would have taken it down.”

But before Whiteaker takes it down, he wants the police officer to apologize for bringing so much attention to the noose. He says if the officer comes to him and says he’s offended by the noose, he will take it down.

In the meantime, he says he plans on putting even more nooses up around his home.

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