Powell residents Mike and Jessie Ursuy were shocked when they drove by a house one evening last week and saw a stuffed dummy with brown overalls on and what looked like a brown mask. The dummy was hanging by its neck, from a noose attached to a tree branch and its hands were bound behind its back.
"I think, too, having a close family member that has committed suicide by hanging, that also is a factor of why it's shocking," said Mike. "Not only just the area that we were looking at, more of a racial depiction of somebody of color that's being hung from a tree."
Jessie, who is African-American, has lived in Powell for two years. She said this is the first time she felt unsafe from something not on the internet. So, she filed the complaint to the police. Sergeant Matt Mccaslin responded to the complaint.
"They actually thought I was there to make sure that it wasn't a real person," said Mccaslin. "So they informed me that it was part of their Halloween decorations."
There were no other Halloween decorations in the yard. Mccaslin informed them of the perception and he said they were shocked. By the next day, the figure was taken down.
Jessie said people justifying the act by saying it's a Halloween decoration makes her think they justify racism as a whole.
"I think it's important to get it out there so people know that we're serious, and we're not just gonna brush it under the rug," said Jessie. "And for all people, like just in general, everybody, and especially people of color that are in this community to at least feel safe and welcome here."
Comments on a local social media site indicate many in the community fear the display had racial intent. The tenants did not reply to our request for comment.