Racist retaliation

A Grand Haven-area couple who hung empty chairs in their frontyard as a protest against President Barack Obama's re-election campaign awoke Wednesday morning to find a plastic lawn chair nailed to their driveway.
Alex Doty
Nov 8, 2012


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.



The Stevens Family

"The Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance didn’t immediately respond to calls for comment." No surprise there. ;( It is more than alright for the group to call a special meeting to discuss their idea of a racial attack, but even though this is exactly what they are suppose to be upset over, they will avoid the issue... you watch!

Tri-cities realist

Correct me if I'm wrong but Ken David engaged in a legal act of expression on HIS property, while the Obama supporter broke the law (more than one) by trespassing and littering. We'll see if there is as much shock and outrage, probably not since Mr. David is white. Such a double standard. Actually worse than a double standard since Mr. David's actions were legal compared to the illegal actions of this chair depositor. But this is what we have become, a nation where law breaking is permitted if the criminals have "good intentions" or have somehow been "wronged" by society. What a disgrace. If the police won't agree to dust this chair for finger prints, I will offer the first $100 towards hiring an independent investigative firm to do it. Then the David's can submit the evidence to prosecuting attorney Frantz, and demand charges be filed. By the way, Alex Doty, you should rethink the title of this article. Perhaps "Alleged racist retaliation" would be more appropriate based on the content of the article, and for whom the Davids' supported in the primary. Or better yet "obama ignoramus trespasses and defiles local Constitutional activists' property".


Ladies and Gentlemen you better take notice. It should not matter which party you align with. The double standard is on display not only by your local newspaper as TCR pointed out, but by one of your friends or neighbors. LEDA if you are truly about diversity, your moment to be front and center on this issue and gain creditability is now. Your silence is heard loudly. For those that like to watch from the side, you should be quietly asking yourself is this fair treatment in our community? For those who felt compelled to voice your opinion and attend meetings, you should be sharing that same outrage right now, or look like a hypocrite. Here on display, across from a school, is actual clear racist behavior with written racist statements. No one has to figure out what was meant here! So, what kind of community are we?




Who hangs chairs from trees to begin with...I understand freedom to blah blah blah..but common sense is that u are probably going to upset some people. Would'nt a sign in your yard saying who you are going to vote for be good enough like others? You deserve the hate your getting for being flat out dumb!


No you don't understand freedom. You may not like what you perceive as dumb, but we do have freedom to express ourselves, on our private property I might add. He did not make any threatening statements or writings. Those that trespassed on his property, wrote racist statements on a chair and nailed it to his driveway did. You are blinded by your views if you cannot see what happened here. Put it this way, if a chair was nailed to your driveway and had statements on it, accusing you of lets say, polluting the waterways with your boat you environmentally pig, what would your first reaction or thoughts be? I perceive this whole chair hanging thing as dumb too, but find the reaction by the community not only dumber, but a scary statement regarding the views of some regarding race, crime and tolerance.


How do you nail something to a driveway?


With a hammer...........................


LOL.....that was too easy. :-)


LOL, we agree on that!


I guess i just figured that it would be somewhat difficult to drive nails into a cement driveway...he must have brought some real tools to this operation.

Tri-cities realist

Real tools indeed!


The pakistani taliban shot a 14 year old girl in the face for disagreeing with her views. So instead of saying he deserves it you should stick up for his right to do it, you may be on the other side of it some day.


No, the Taliban attempted to kill this young woman because she violated their perception of Islamic orthodoxy by daring to even express a view as a female.


This was not a racist attack.....it was an attack against a racist.......


...and that makes it perfectly legal to attack someone! Wow!


I never said it was legal......wow!


You are condoning the act. Such a compassionate mama!


I did not say I condoned it. I made a simple comment. YOU are reading into it exactly what YOU want to. Racists have the right to be protected by the law just like the rest of us.


Glad to see you step back from the cliff. Carry on.


Wing, you sound so Superior, carry on by all means...


Don't worry I will. Oh and no, I don't feel superior, just driven to educate you and others that are not dealing with complete facts and forming opionions around them. I will continue to also point out the hipocrisy in your positions every chance I get, sometimes with humor, sometimes with an edge. I will consider the audience to whom I speak.


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained personal attacks. Discussion Guidelines


Ok, no big deal right? So why did Mr David get railroaded for weeks and then The Lakeshore Diversity Counsel conduct a meeting over his insensitivity. Then when he is the target of the same said insensitive, presto change o we hear zero calls for healing racism. It goes both ways. I have said before, I think his little display was stupid but the oh so sensitive in the community wanted to make a race issue of it. Ok, I'm following....so why is it suddenly not a race issue anymore? This is exactly how we heal the divide in race and point out the wrongs on both sides and you want to brush it off as no big deal. Get real, someone trespassed onto his property, WROTE, not implied racism on a chair and nailed it to his driveway. By the way, I hope Mrs. David does not find out about Mrs. Davis as Mr. David will have way bigger problems on his hands!


Oh well lookie there snlfan, before I can post my retort to you, the eye in the sky scrubs your post. I'll explain the last sentence of my post as snlfan was miss stating the David's name and called them Davis....onward! Come on Trib, this is getting ridiculous.


I just thought I said that he was dumb enough to put himself in the public light as a racist the is surprised when someone plays a prank back on him?




How is it ole Master Wing that you are the only one in this forum in possession of the complete set of facts regarding this incident? From my seat here we're all dealing with an incomplete story at this point. Are you on the task force investigating the great chair wars? Did you hear something on your police scanner that no one else heard? Your self-righteous, superior attitude is exactly what drives you to "educate" all the great unwashed in this forum. You're like a political missionary, beating people over the head with your perfect view of how the world should go, whether or not we've asked for your input. Do you know for a fact who the chair nailer is?? How are you going to attribute this incident to unbridled racism if it turns out to be another old white guy making a point? Maybe a neighbor sick of the attention this douche bag is bringing to their neighborhood, or maybe a couple teens having some fun with an old closet racist with an odd taste in art? Maybe he did it himself because he needed another hit of localized fame? Is it possible for there even to be white on white racism? I ask old Master Wing because I just don't know....please educate this lowly human with your infinite supply of edgy humor and unlimited wisdom!


Its my point of view and I'm entitled to it right or wrong and whether you like it or not. If you do not like it, why keep reading my post? I'm here to compete in the areana of ideals. Bring your best ideas, thoughts and facts go at it. When I'm proven wrong I will admit it. So far you have brought nothing to the conversation but attacks upon me or my character. You want to keep displaying that here for all to see, have at it. Don't get mad at me because your positions melt when a little heat is applied.


I keep reading your posts because they're entertaining in a way I'm sure you wouldn't appreciate. Why didn't you answer a single one of my sincere questions? Did you not see the question marks? If you don't have an answer it's ok to say so, I do it quite frequently. I won't think any less of you. I get the feeling reading this latest response that it's the verbal equivalent of you sticking your tongue out at me. If you can't answer the questions asked, then don't reply. Simple enough for you?



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