November 31, 2008
Hanging of Sarah Palin in effigy for Halloween
not a hate crime, say police
Goblins, ghosts, witches . . . and Sarah Palin hanging by
That's the controversial Halloween image that greeted shocked
West Hollywood residents when a homeowner put
up an effigy of the US Republican vice-presidential nominee.
The Halloween display at the home of Chad Michael Morisette
was defended by him as within the spirit of the occasion.
The outdoor display featured a mannequin dress as Palin,
complete with red business suit, trademark eyeglasses and
brunette beehive wig - hanging
by a noose off the chimney.
And she wasn't alone, but was joined by a mannequin of Republican
presidential candidate John McCain. It protruded from the
chimney surrounded in flames, the McCain figure holding
his head as he was apparently being burned alive.
Unamused neighbors complained that it was wrong to depict
a vice presidential candidate in this way.
But an unrepentent Morisette defended it. "It should
be seen as art, and as within the month of October. It's
Halloween, it's time to be scary, it's time to be spooky,"
he told TV reporters.
Depite the furor among some residents who reported it as
a hate crime, police ruled out taking any action.
It did not rise to the level of a hate crime because it
was part of a Halloween display, they said.
"I'm not defending this; I'm not criticizing it. It
doesn't rise to the level of hate crime," Steve Whitmore,
spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department
was reported as saying by the Los Angeles Times. He
revealed that he went out to the house himself to look at
the display. "Now, if there was a crime against bad