Virginia Man Defends Display Of Noose With Black Doll As Free Speech

Source: WHSV

A Virginia man hopes to convince the state’s Supreme Court that hanging a life-sized black doll on his front yard by a noose to intimidate black people is free speech.

READ: Six Miami Firefighters Fired For Placing Noose Over Black Lieutenant’s Family Photo

Jack Turner of Rocky Mount, Virginia, is in court after being convicted of breaking a Virginia state law that prohibits hanging a noose “in a manner having a direct tendency to place another person in reasonable fear or apprehension of death or bodily injury,” according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The law, which was passed in 2009, was violated by Turner in 2015 when he hung an effigy of a black man from a tree on his front lawn in retaliation to a conflict with his black neighbor, John Mitchell. Turner also hung a Confederate flag in a window facing Mitchell’s home after the noose and doll were confiscated, as well as displayed a sign with he following message on his lawn during his trial and sentencing: “Black ni**ers lives don’t matter. Got rope?”

“If he can hang a noose, I don’t know what’s going to happen. I fear for my family’s safety,” Mitchell said at the time of the trial. “Every morning, I walk out my door. Is somebody going to shoot me in the back?”

However, Holland Perdue, Turner’s lawyer, has defended his actions, claiming his free speech rights were violated. Because the noose and the doll were hung on his private property and not on public property, Perdue argued Turner is protected by the First Amendment.

Still, Turner’s case was upheld by Judge Robert Humphreys.

“The evidence was sufficient to support the circuit court’s conclusion that the offense occurred in a public place,” Humphreys wrote, adding that Turner’s act violated the law because “Turner displayed a noose and dummy in a place and manner to communicate threats to others with the intent to place members of the public in fear of violence and bodily harm,” according to The Roanoke Times.

Although Humphreys noted that “the First Amendment protects Turner’s right to be a racist and even to convey his racist beliefs to others,” he also said that a “constitutional limit to that allowance has been reached when an idea becomes a threat that causes reasonable people to fear leaving their homes.”

Turner is the first person in Virginia to be convicted under the new noose law, which carries up to five years in prison and a $2,500 fine.

Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch

Elijah C. Watson

Elijah Watson serves as Okayplayer's News & Culture Editor. When he's not writing he's listening to Sade and crying or watching My Hero Academia with his partner.

Published by
Elijah C. Watson

Recent Posts

DC is Finally Ready to Compete with the MCU

During a presentation of DC Universe Chapter 1, studio heads Peter Safran and James Gunn… Read More

January 31, 2023

Questlove Will Co-Curate a Hip-Hop 50 Performance During the 2023 Grammys

In partnership with Mass Appeal, Questlove will co-curate the Hip-Hop 50 tribute during the 65th… Read More

January 31, 2023

This AI Generator Will Allow You to Turn Mundane Topics Into a Drake Song

Drake fans are using website AI generator website to make automatic versions of songs… Read More

January 31, 2023

Will Smith & Martin Lawrence Announce Fourth ‘Bad Boys’ Movie

On Tuesday, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence went to social media to announce the fourth… Read More

January 31, 2023

Lil Wayne Is Hitting the Road for ‘Welcome to Tha Carter Tour’

Rap icon Lil Wayne will embark on the 'Welcome to Tha Carter Tour' in April,… Read More

January 31, 2023

This ’70s Song is Seeing a Huge Boost in Streams Thanks to ‘The Last of Us’

The 1970 Linda Ronstadt song "Long Long Time" was used in the third episode of… Read More

January 31, 2023