Gov. Beshear hanged in effigy at 2nd Amendment protest at Capitol

Published: May. 25, 2020 at 7:04 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WAVE) - A protest in Frankfort at Kentucky’s capitol sparked outrage Sunday.

A doll with governor Andy Beshear’s face on it was hanged from a tree during that protest.

"It's kind of eerie to look at," Gerry Seavo James, a freelance journalist recording the event said in a video. "I'm kind of at a loss for words."

Many of the protesters were armed at the capitol on Sunday. Some yelled outside the governor’s mansion for Beshear to come out and address them: He did not.

One person at the rally said the effigy hanging was a way for them to peacefully protest.

"A peaceful warning," the man said in the video. "But it's not only for him, it's for everyone who's tyrants in this country."

The exchange continued.

"George Washington hung all kinds of people," the man said.

The hanging doll had a sign around its neck that said Sic Semper Tyrannus. That saying was used by Marcus Iunius Brutus, one of the people behind the assassination of Julius Caesar.

WAVE 3 News Troubleshooters reached out to the group Sons of Liberty Three Percenters, who have criticized Beshear's restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic. But they said they had nothing to do with the effigy and were not aware it was going to happen. They said there were three other groups there.

Online posts lead WAVE 3 News in the direction of another group called Kentucky Three Percenters Inc., whose Facebook page listed less than 400 members. The group did not respond to messages sent Monday.

Leaders condemned the act Sunday.

Metro Council President David James said: "I join other elected officials in strongly condemning what took place on the grounds of our State Capitol on Sunday. Peaceful protest is a guaranteed right in our country, inciting violence by demanding our Governor come out of the Mansion, and then hanging an effigy of him is both disgusting and repulsive. As an African American, I am personally offended that anyone believes a hanging is a way to deal with a difference of opinion. While this action was done by a few, it shows selfishness during a time when a health crisis has managed to change all of our lives. I call upon the organizers of this ‘so-called’ freedom rally to revisit the meaning of the weekend we are celebrating. Today the actions by some was shameful, they may not realize there are thousands of people in support of what our Governor has done during this crisis. You may have done more damage to your efforts than good.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch Mcconnell said: “As a strong defender of the First Amendment, I believe Americans have the right to peacefully protest. However, today’s action toward Governor Beshear is unacceptable. There is no place for hate in Kentucky.”

Senator Morgan McGarvey said: This is a new low and it is disgusting and wrong. I wish I were more surprised but this vitriol comes from the top. I hope Republican leaders join me in condemning violent threats against any elected official.

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