GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A man who hung a noose in his upstairs window said the display had nothing to do with race.
“I think the corrupt politicians should be hung,” said Greg Kazemier from his front porch near Eastern Avenue and Franklin Street in Grand Rapids.
“It’s all about just the corrupt bull—- in Washington. (The noose) has nothing to do with race. I’ve been down here for eleven years. I’ve never had a problem with any of my neighbors. I love it down here,” he said.
Eastern Avenue and Franklin Street is in Grand Rapids’ Third Ward, which has the city’s highest African American population at 33.7%.
After declaring the noose was not racially motivated, Kazemier went on to say he believes some American politicians have committed treason and should be hanged for it.
On Thursday, a passerby posted a picture of the noose on Facebook, sparking outrage among those who viewed it.
“Everyone knows what a hangman’s noose represents, especially to the African American community,” wrote one poster who suggested such a display should constitute a federal crime.
Another commenter said that their biggest issue with the noose is “the kids in the community seeing this and thinking it’s acceptable.”
Kazemier told News 8 he did not realize the noose was racially offensive until a neighbor told him about the Facebook posts.
The 59-year-old said that’s what prompted him to take the looped rope down, which had been hanging in his upstairs window for three days.
He said he may put the noose back up but would include a large sign to make clear it’s meant for “corrupt politicians,” not African Americans.
“I’m not like that. I like all people… It had nothing to do with color. Not a damn thing. A noose is an equal opportunity employer,” said Kazemier, who took the opportunity to complain about property taxes and licensing fees, among other grievances.
Grand Rapids Police told News 8 it received a report about the noose but found it had been taken down when officers arrived at the home.
Police did not make contact with Kazemier regarding the noose.
But the homeowner has had a lot of interaction with authorities in the past, like his ongoing fight with Grand Rapids Code Enforcement over the condition of his property.
Kazemier has a criminal record as well, including convictions for felony larceny and felony organized retail crime, according to Michigan State Police records.
He was also convicted of felony resisting and obstructing after a standoff with Grand Rapids police in July 2011.
The incident happened after a witness reported seeing a man with a gun on Kazemier’s porch.
At the time, News 8 reported police arrived on scene to find a man sitting on the porch with his gun, making motions that suggested he was loading it.
On Friday, Kazemier described the 2011 standoff as a “big misunderstanding.”
“I was drunk, and the stereo was on. Never heard anybody,” explained Kazemier.