FRANKFORT, Ky. — During a Second Amendment rally in Frankfort on Sunday, an effigy of Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear was hung from a tree.
According to the Courier Journal, at least 100 people were gathered for the rally at the state capitol from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The newspaper reports that the event turned into a protest of the COVID-19 restrictions ordered by Gov. Beshear, as protesters moved from the capitol building to the governor's mansion. People were reportedly chanting, "Come out, Andy."
Late Sunday afternoon, photos began to circulate of Gov. Beshear being hung in effigy. A Courier Journal reporter tweeted out several images.
Several people hung @GovAndyBeshear in effigy. pic.twitter.com/E7NK00tWSz
— Sarah Ladd (@ladd_sarah) May 24, 2020
Freelance photographer Gerry Seavo James recorded it live on Facebook:
WLEX spoke to James, who was at the protest and witnessed it. He says a protest organizer brought it out of his trunk and hung it up.
"Immediately as I saw that go up, as an African America there's this imagery of generational trauma, and you think of lynching and images gathered around getting lynched as entertainment, that image clicked in my head when I saw that," Seavo said.
Several lawmakers have taken to social media to condemn the act. Joni Jenkins, the State Representative House Democrat Floor Leader, said "it was a terrible, terrible act, but I don't think it is representative of what Kentucky is. I think most Kentuckians know that we are in this together."
The House Democratic leadership released this statement:
"Hanging Governor Beshear in effigy is beyond reprehensible, and yet it is also the logical conclusion of the hateful rhetoric we saw touted on the Capitol grounds earlier this month that was implicitly condoned by elected representatives from the legislature's majority party. Doing this in front of our Capitol, just a short walk from where the Governor, First Lady, and their two young children live, is an act that reeks of hate and intimidation and does nothing but undermine our leading work to battle this deadly disease and restore our economy safely. We call on all elected officials to condemn these actions and pledge to work to eliminate dangerous hateful speech."
Speaker Davis Osborne released this statement on behalf of the House Majority Caucus:
"I am outraged that a group hung an effigy of Governor Beshear today at the Capitol and the House Majority Caucus condemns this act of hatred. The party of Lincoln will not condone this. There is no place in a civil society for it, nor is there any good to be accomplished from it. This weekend we honor those who died defending our right to speak freely. Today's actions are an insult to their sacrifice and the kind of incendiary action that can only cause harm."
Senate Major Leader Mitch McConnell tweeted this statement:
.@SenateMajLdr: “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.”
— Senator McConnell Press (@McConnellPress) May 25, 2020
We'll continue to update this story with any new developments.
This story was originally published by Kylen Mills at WLEX.