Two arrested after effigy

By Katie Perkowski

Two people were arrested Thursday in connection to the Barack Obama effigy that was found hanging from a tree on the UK campus Wednesday morning.

Joe Fischer, a UK student and former football walk-on, and Hunter Bush, a Lexington resident, were arrested by UK Police on charges of second-degree burglary, second-degree disorderly conduct and theft by unlawful taking. Second-degree burglary is a felony, and the other two charges are misdemeanors.

Police said the two individuals broke into a fraternity house on campus and stole some materials used to make the effigy. Maj. Joe Monroe, UK’s interim police chief.

FarmHouse Fraternity President Adam French confirmed the fraternity gave information to the police. He declined comment on what was stolen from the fraternity house, saying he did not want to compromise the investigation. He did confirm that the stolen item or items did not include an effigy.

Fischer and Bush turned themselves in at the UK police station and were arrested at 3:38 p.m., Monroe said. The two made the effigy after seeing a life-size representation of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin hanging from the front of a West Hollywood man’s house.

Bush and Fischer told police they regretted their actions, Monroe said.

Both are currently being detained at the Fayette County Detention Center and will be arraigned at 1 p.m. Friday in Fayette County District Court.

UK Police received a report at 7:45 a.m. on Wednesday that a likeness of Obama, the Democratic presidential candidate, was hanging from a tree between Parking Structure #2 and the Mining and Mineral Resources Building near a walkway to W. T. Young Library. Members of UK’s physical plant division cut the effigy down at 8:25 a.m. using a crane, UK spokeswoman Kathy Johnson said.

As news of the effigy spread across campus, several people came forward to police with information on the incident, Monroe said. UK Police then met with members of a FarmHouse Fraternity, that led to the arrests of the suspects.

In response to the arrest, UK President Lee Todd sent a campus-wide e-mail and commended UK Police for its “professional and expedient action in this case.”

Todd also said the UK student is subject to disciplinary action as defined in the university’s Student Code of Conduct and Governing Regulations of the University.

“An initial determination of responsibility for a violation of the code and an appropriate sanction is made by the Dean of Students Office,” Todd said in the e-mail. “In this process, all students’ records including any disciplinary records are confidential in accordance with university regulations, and state and federal law.”

Andersen, when the effigy was first discovered the reactions of Lee Todd and Steve Beshear both focused around the racial motivations of hanging the effigy. Beshear, a graduate of our Law School, went so far as to classify the display as hate speech and claimed that it was not a first amendment issue. (He’s wrong). The protest march later that evening focused on the content of the effigy and not the petty crime involved in hanging it. Diversity, tolerance, and racism were the buzz words; not breaking and entering or theft. This is about race.

I don’t think we’ll ever hear the whole story about what happened. The official story doesn’t add up. Two guys broke into a frat house to steal some clothes for a doll they made elsewhere. They also took an 8′ ladder which they used to hang the doll 25′ off the ground. It doesn’t make sense. I’d say Farmhouse was involved and threw the two under the bus when the police came knocking.

I’m not a neocon. Not even close. I am able to see the double standard though. While there is not a history of lynching hot, Alaskan women, there are thousands of women who fall victim to violence everyday in this country. Any display condoning or promoting violence against women should be at least as offensive to people as a symbol from a bygone era, right? I personally think that all speech should be protected and that people should try to be a little more tolerant of views that they don’t agree with…

“…had the effigy been of any of the other 3 candidates in the race, it would have passed unremarkably…” Yeah, right. What are you basing this on? Enough with the baseless claims!

The university’s official response to an effigy of Obama is
disgusting. Occuring the day after an effigy of Palin made the
connection obvious, yet UK and Lee Todd have turned it into a racial
issue. Barack Obama may happen to be a minority, but he is still a public and political figure; his minority status does not excuse him from facing public opposition. And being a college student should not bar an individual from the
expression of free speech – clearly political- on a campus that
ostensibly claims to be open to political discussion. The fact that
the materials were stolen notwithstanding, had the effigy been of any
of the other 3 candidates in the race, it would have passed
unremarkably. President Todd and UK making this a race issue is
preposterous and reprehensible. I believe any apologies in this case should come from the university, and its illustrious leader, for their mishandling of the situation.

Its true, hanging palin may seem in bad taste, but the US has a nasty history with stringing up blacks for lies. Palin is a big liar, and isn’t likely to get strung up.

Just like Ashley Todd lying about being raped and attacked by the scary black man and making Texas A&M look bad, same goes for these yahoos and UK. Quick lessons for young white college students; talk to your parents about the 60’s and get some perspective.

LC — people were pissed at the Palin effigy — don’t try to make it seem otherwise. And no one is calling this a hate crime. The administration isn’t. The police aren’t. Stop trying to say that they are.

Breaking and entering and then stealing negates what I believe was the purpose of this stunt: the double standard that exists in political speech.

These two were stupid for breaking the law. But had they pulled this stunt off without doing so, the only stupid thing about their actions would be that they didn’t do it with anonymity. The point had to be made, and it has. It’s “art” if you hang a white-woman-dummy. It’s racism if you hang a black-man-dummy.

The Palin “art” also has a burning McCain engulfed in fire but there is no outrage. Why isn’t this a “hate crime?” Because Palin/McCain are white. I’d refer to this as “reverse-racism” but that bogus term implies only white people can be racist– as though racism against white people is some kind of anomaly. That’s the point. People are fed up.

Believe it or not, the image of a black person hanging from a tree has a different meaning than a white person. That’s obviously going to be the first thing someone notices when they see that.

Think before you do something like that, ffs.

Besides that, because it was done on our campus it made our whole student body look bad. Kentucky has enough problems with its perceived image, and this didn’t help. The WeHo guy who did the Palin thing got in trouble for it, but its just him. This incident reflects on all of us at UK.

Andersen, of course breaking and entering is against the law. But the article focuses more on Obama than the fact they broke the law.

When I younger, my parents house was broken into while they worked and I was in school.

What would have happend to them if they DIDN’T steal anything and still hung an effigy of Obama?

Oh I forget, because it is protected, we have no right to be offended, right? Did Todd say “We should bring them down via H8 CRiMZ?” I don’t think so. He was upset, and rightly so. Sure, he didn’t send out an e-mail about the Palin effigy, but why should he have? This happened on OUR campus, so I think his response was needed.

Andersen, the reason people are mad isn’t the breaking and entering or theft. It’s because of the racial overtones of hanging the effigy. At least Lee Todd seemed to focus on that aspect in all of his emails and public addresses. We may not agree with the content of the speech, but it’s protected by the constitution. So, the right answer is no, there would not have been the same reaction to any of the other three candidates being hung in effigy.

Yes Mark, I believe there would have been the same reaction. These kids broke into a fraternity house and stole several items. That is why they were arrested.

Now if some kids had done that and made a Palin or McCain effigy, then yes, they would certainly be held to the law.

You do realize that breaking and entering and theft are crimes, right Mark?

Would there have been the same reaction of an efiggy of McCain or Palin like there have been effggy’s of them around the country?

Please UK, get a life.

The two pranksters meant no harm so what’s the problem.