South St. Paul man upsets neighbors by hanging noose in yard

A South St. Paul neighborhood is experiencing some controversy after one resident hung a noose in his front yard.

The homeowner, John, says he did not mean anything racist by his actions. John, who did not want to provide his last name, says he put up the noose to discourage thieves who keep stealing his signs and flags that support Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. He thought he might be able to catch the thieves on his newly purchased trail camera, which he had attached to the noose.

“It was something the cowboys did in the cowboy movies. They went out and found the criminals and threw the rope over the tree and justice was served,” John said.

But, a South St. Paul neighborhood Facebook page is filled with residents who are offended.

One user says, “Ask anyone what a noose symbolizes and nine out of 10 will say racism.”

"This is very offensive and extremely racist. As a mother of a child who is Black, I consider this as a threat,” another user wrote.

John's next-door neighbor, Robert Dabbs, a pastor, does not see the noose as racist. But, he also had one of his Trump flags stolen. 

“Maybe we can get some action from the people that are stealing the flags, to realize it's wrong and to leave things alone,” Dabbs said. “It wasn't like we were going to hang somebody. There should be some consequence for people who are stealing, to stop stealing stuff out of people's yards."

John says he believes in acceptance and tolerance of all people and their political beliefs. While he is still upset about the thieves, he says he really did not mean to upset his neighbors.

“It will probably come down shortly. It was a statement for the thieves and a way of venting frustration.

In addition to the racist interpretation by some, others are worried that school children walking by may be drawn to play with the noose, which could be dangerous.

While the noose is still there for now, John says he may consider other options to deter the thieves.