Local News

Fayetteville Man Defends Controversial Display

Posted October 24, 2001

— A mannequin hanging from a tree is the source of debate in one Fayetteville neighborhood. Its owner says the decoration is supposed to represent Osama bin Laden. Neighbors do not see it that way.

For three days, the dark-skinned mannequin was seen hanging from a tree with a rope around its neck on Larry Sheets' property.

Sheets says that he planned to put a turban and a beard on the mannequin to make it look more like terrorist mastermind Osama Bin Laden. But, he says, he never got around to it.

Sheets says his display, which includes a confederate flag, is one of patriotism, not racism.

"I work with all kinds of people, I have nothing against nobody until they cross me," he says.

Neighbors say the display is anything but patriotic.

"I don't care if it was a black person, a Puerto Rican person or an Afghanistan person. This is American. You don't have to have anybody hanging from a tree with a rope around their neck," says a neighbor.

After a number of people complained, Sheets says a Fayetteville police officer took the mannequin out of his tree. Because of concerns of possible retaliation, Sheets says that he may put the mannequin away for good.

Sheets says the confederate flag has been hanging in his yard for years and that he has never received a complaint about it.

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