Noose on empty chair display causes concern in Horry County

This empty chair with a noose on it has caused concern for some in the Bucksville community.

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WPDE) - A display some are calling racially charged is causing concern in an Horry County community. A Bucksville man placed an empty chair in front of his home after Clint Eastwood's speech at the Republican National Convention, where the actor said the chair represented President Barack Obama. Recently a hangman's noose was added to the display in Bucksville, near Conway.

Monday afternoon, a group of concerned citizens called for its removal.

"We will not be intimidated. We will not be thrown back. We're going to continue to press forward as a people. This is not a black or white thing. America should be appalled at this action," explains Marcus Norfleet.

Norfleet joined about two dozen people at the Horry County Democratic Party headquarters in Conway to speak out against the display in front of a home on Old Bucksville Road outside Conway.

Party chairman Doris Potter-Hickman says she thinks the display's message is clear. "The blue chair is representing the President of the United States and the hangman noose represents a threat to persons who wish to vote."

Potter-Hickman adds, "We are very saddened to learn that here in Horry County we have suppression tactics going on."

Empty chairs popped up in several places after Eastwood's speech at the RNC. Tim Gardner lives at the home with the display. He joined others with an empty chair display, and even posted a picture of his on Twitter last month. About a week ago those in the community say he added a hangman's noose which didn't sit well with Deloris Rozier.

"It is something that I never thought I would see again in my lifetime," says Dozier. "We are not going to tolerate it in the community. We would like for him to take it down. We would like for him to do so because it is the right thing to do and he would not want a similar display in one of our yards."

Despite what others think of the display, Gardner isn't breaking any laws.

"We all know that folks have their constitutional rights to do whatever they want on their property, but for any individual to have this kind of a display at this point in history is unbelievable," adds Rozier.

She goes on to say she's worried about what effect it may have on young people.

Horry County police received several complaints including one about the placement of the display being so close to the road. Chief Saundra Rhodes says they have notified the South Carolina Department of Transportation because the display may be in the right of way.

NewsChannel 15 has reached out to Gardner for comment. We'll let you know when we hear back from him.