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Racist retaliation

Alex Doty • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:49 AM

Black marker was used to write "4 more years," "racist pig" and numerous profanities on the white chair.

“I opened the curtain and saw it out there at about 9 o’clock,” Judy David said. “If the police can pull finger prints off of it, good.”

Ken David said he intends to file a complaint with the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department.

“It’s uncalled for,” he said Wednesday afternoon.

The chair was at the end of the Davids' driveway, across the street from Peach Plains Elementary School on Comstock Street.

“I am sorry we didn’t get out there quicker to take it down,” Ken said. “I hope too many kids didn’t see it.”

Ken said the chair was likely a response to the political display featured on his property, which was the subject of numerous media reports in late September.

“Probably because they didn’t like the chairs suspended in our trees,” he said.

The Davids' chair and sign display was erected in September as a play on Clint Eastwood’s Republican National Convention speech in August, during which the actor berated an empty chair that represented Obama.

In response to the Davids' display, the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance hosted a meeting in Grand Haven on Oct. 4, saying the hanging chairs represented racist threats against the African-American president and should be removed.

According to Judy David, the couple was left in the dark about attending the meeting.

“Nobody from the Ethnic Diversity Alliance came over and asked us to come to their meeting,” she said. “If they would’ve came over and asked us, we would have talked to them, but we’ve been shunned and it’s totally despicable.”

Ken said they aren’t racist, as the candidate they were strongly in favor of during the Republican primary election race early this year was also African-American.

“Herman Cain was our candidate, and we contributed to his campaign two different times — so how could I be a racist?” he said. “He was our candidate until he got railroaded.”

Judy said they even attended rallies in support of Cain.

“We drove around the state to see him at different places,” she said.

Ken said his lawn chair message was about promoting freedom.

“What this is about is liberty and freedom,” he said. “I believe it so actively that I displayed it actively to the 5,400 cars that went by in two hours during the two days I was down (at Washington Avenue and U.S. 31, in early October).”

The Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance didn’t immediately respond to calls for comment.

The alliance issued a statement on Thursday afternoon. To read it, click here.

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