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A Kelowna, B.C., man said he’s haunted by what he describes as a racist Halloween display, which includes a Confederate flag and a figure depicting a man hanging by a noose on a tree.
The resident, who asked to remain anonymous, told Global News the decorations he passed by at a Richter Street home in the city’s north end are ignorant and brought him to tears.
“As a black man in B.C I feel like fighting against racism is an uphill battle with so few of us around here,” the resident said in an email.
“I looked over at a tree in front of the house and saw they had a figure hanging from a noose. Black latex gloves for hands and a stuffed black piece of cloth for a head….We all know what this is. I had asked to be excused from my exam and went home to just cry and get my frustrations out.”
When a Global News crew arrived at the site, the mannequin had been taken down from the tree and the noose removed from around its neck. It was propped up against the house.
The large Confederate flag, a common white supremacist symbol, was still erected above the home.
The detailed spooky display also included fake zombies, skeletons, dragons and tombstones.
The homeowner did not respond to a request for comment.
Bruce Ganton lives beside the home in question and said his neighbour creates a shocking display every year before Halloween, and he didn’t see anything wrong with it.
“As you can see from the display, he has gone to great lengths to make it look really Halloweeny, and I don’t think there is a sinister thought behind anything he does,” Ganton said.
A Kelowna RCMP cruiser was parked outside the home when Global News arrived at the home.
At approximately 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Kelowna RCMP issued a statement saying it was investigating the display.
“We have opened an investigation in relation to the circumstances of the effigy and the flag at that location,” said Insp. Adam MacIntosh.
An effigy is a life-size sculptural representation of a specific person.
“We are taking this incident extremely seriously and are collectively working with City By-Laws as to the appropriate course of action. These symbols only serve to fuel hatred and division and such behaviour cannot be tolerated in our community and society.”
Mounties are attempting to reach the resident of the home in regards to the display and will be requesting the flag also be removed, police said.
“The City of Kelowna is encouraged and grateful to the RCMP for following up on this terrible public display,” said Kelowna Colin Basran in the release.
“There’s no place in Kelowna for this kind of racist imagery, which is hurtful to people of colour and all who cherish an inclusive community.”