Beshear Hanged in Effigy During Protest at Capitol, Governor's Mansion
Governor Andy Beshear was hung in effigy during a rally in Frankfort on Sunday.
The Second Amendment rally, meant to inspire people “about what it really means to be FREE,” according to Take Back Kentucky, attracted at least 100 people on Sunday. They gathered from 1-4 p.m. at the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort.
Take Back Kentucky organized rallies on Saturday and Sunday.
The Saturday rally was described by the organization as, "A rally to celebrate freedom, and to fight back against the unconstitutional shutdown over the Coronavirus. We will have guest speakers to talk about the virus, and how this shutdown will not only wreak havoc with the economy over the next several years, but also threaten our fundamental freedoms and the character of America for generations."
Restrictions related to those shutdown orders continued to loosen this weekend as restaurants reopened to in-person dining and small gatherings were permitted again.
According to media reports, the effigy of Beshear, a Democrat in his first year as governor, was hung from a tree near the governor's mansion in Frankfort. The effigy included the Latin phrase, Sic semper tyrannis, which translates to "thus always to tyrants".
The phrase was partially referenced in the diary in John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln after the end of the U.S. Civil War.
The Frankfort really included shouts for Beshear to come outside.
State Rep. Buddy Wheatley (D-Covington) condemned the effigy.
"There are no words strong enough to condemn such a symbol of hate," Wheatley tweeted Sunday. "It must not be ignored. Legislators talking about limiting a governor’s power during a pandemic should condemn these acts and call for safety measures at the Capitol with just as much fervor."
There are no words strong enough to condemn such a symbol of hate.— Buddy Wheatley (@buddywheatleyky) May 25, 2020
It must not be ignored.
Legislators talking about limiting a governor’s power during a pandemic should condemn these acts and call for safety measures at the Capitol with just as much fervor. https://t.co/thrKsOP2If
Republican Senate President Robert Stivers also spoke against the effigy in a statement released Sunday.
“The actions of the individuals at the capitol today were completely reprehensible," Stivers said. "I disagree with Governor Andy Beshear on many issues. However, this is not the way to disagree on policy or personalities. The General Assembly will continue to work on behalf of Kentuckians, to guide us through this difficult era, but in no way will we endorse this type of conduct.”
U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell also issued a statement Sunday. "As a strong defender of the First Amendment, I believe Americans have the right to peacefully protest. However, today’s action toward Governor Beshear is unacceptable. There is no place for hate in Kentucky,” he said.
The Kentucky Republican Party also called the effigy unacceptable.
"What occurred at today's rally was unacceptable and has no place in Kentucky's political discourse. The Republican Party of Kentucky strongly condemns the violent imagery against the Governor in today's protest," a tweet read.
“Come out, Andy” chants in front of the governor’s mansion. pic.twitter.com/N52stx7fKB— Sarah Ladd (@ladd_sarah) May 24, 2020
Read full coverage of the story at the Herald-Leader or Courier-Journal.
This story may be updated.