BLYTHEVILLE, Ark. — Church members in a small Blytheville Church were shocked Sunday as they came to worship.
Not far from their house of prayer a dummy was hanging by a rope underneath its arms with what appears to be black face and hands. The owner of the property says it was a prank by youngsters that wasn't meant to be racial.
Pastor Fredrick Clay with Morning Star M.B. Church says the harmony was disrupted Sunday in a way his congregation could never have expected.
"One of the members had informed another member there was a dummy with a black face on it down the street hanging up. And we were all distraught when that announcement was made," Pastor Clay said.
A picture posted on the church's Facebook page shows a stuffed dummy hanging by a rope from a ladder.
"One of them members brought the picture to me to show, and I really didn't know what to do," Pastor Clay said.
The dummy appears to have a black face and black gloves on. To make matters wore, it was hanging in front of a building that was a tenth of a mile from the church.
"We had never faced this before in this magnitude, up close an in person," Pastor Clay said.
The property owner, Glenn Farrow, told Blytheville Police the dummy was stuffed by his two grandchildren and was meant as a joke on other family members.
Farrow reached out to Reverend Clay Sunday afternoon and personally apologized, claiming there was no racial intent.
"He was sorry about this and about the whole ordeal. He hate that it even happened and that it got this far," the pastor said.
He says he accepted Farrow's apology.
Farrow also posted an apology on social media saying in part, "My grandkids and I assembled a lifelike figure from balloons and dressed in clothing. This was in no way meant to be racist in any way, shape, form or fashion."
Farrow declined our request for an interview and says the property on Promise Land Road is a shop and residence for a plumbing company.
The dummy was removed Sunday afternoon.
"I did want him to understand that as a black man in America, that how this would look with rope and a black face. I just didn't feel like there was any room for that," Pastor Clay said.
Blytheville's mayor says he's aware of the incident and Blytheville Police are investigating. Pastor Clay says he has no plans to file a Civil Rights Complaint.