LOVELAND, Colo. (CBS4) – Empty chairs hanging from trees have been seen in several different areas across the country and a concerned viewer called CBS4 after finding one in her neighborhood in Loveland.
“I could cry, I think it’s so intimidating,” a Loveland resident said.
Neighbors in Loveland call it offensive. They say the chair hanging from a tree limb is beyond being just an attack on President Barack Obama.
“It symbolizes a lynching; a symbolic lynching,” the woman said.
The yard and the chair belong to Dennis Jacobsen. He says the chair has been hanging in his yard for more than a week.
“They’re making more out of it than it is,” Jacobsen said.
Clint Eastwood’s speech to an imaginary President Obama was the highlight of the Republican National Convention. Since then hanging chairs have appeared in Texas, Virginia, and now Colorado. Critics say they’re racist with the chair representing a black president hanging at the end of a rope. For some, it brings back the darkest chapters of the civil rights movement.
“I think it’s; I don’t even know what the words would be. I think it’s a hate crime,” Loveland resident Barbara Kellerher said.
“It’s not intended. There’s no reason to do that,” Jacobsen said.
Jacobsen says he thought the chair would be stolen if he didn’t hang it from the tree. He has no plans to take it down.
Jacobsen says his chair is not meant as a threat to the president. The Secret Service looked into a similar protest in Texas and also found no credible threat.