2 Accused of Hanging Obama Effigy on Ky. Campus

Roger Alford, AP, Oct. 30, 2008

A University of Kentucky student and another man were arrested Thursday, accused of hanging a life-sized likeness of Barack Obama from a tree on the campus.

The incident was one of several in recent weeks involving effigies of the presidential candidates or their running mates. No charges have been filed in four other cases that have made national headlines.

UK Interim Police Chief Joe Monroe said the men “expressed remorse for a stunt that had gotten out of hand.”

Arrested were Joe Fischer, 22, a UK student, and Hunter Bush, 21, both of Lexington. Both were being held at Fayette County Detention Center on charges of disorderly conduct related to the hanging of the effigy. They were also charged with burglary and theft at a fraternity house where police said the materials came from.

Lt. Tina Strange, a deputy jailer at the detention center, did not know who the men’s attorneys were. She said they were each being held on $7,600 bond.

Monroe said the two men told detectives they decided to hang the effigy after seeing media reports about a Sarah Palin effigy in California.

Witnesses who saw the effigy Wednesday said it was life-sized with an Obama Halloween mask, a suit jacket and sweat pants. It was found hanging from a tree with a noose around its neck.

UK President Lee Todd said the effigy violates the university’s code of ethics, and Fischer faces punishment that could include expulsion.

“As outrageous and offensive an act as the effigy was, I truly believe it has mobilized our campus, the community and the state in an effort to battle racism,” Todd said Thursday.

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