RCMP investigating Kelowna Halloween display depicting hanged man, Confederate flag

A flag with a skeleton cowboy in front of a flying confederate flag hangs from a Bay Avenue home on Oct. 27, 2021. Part of the Halloween decoration was reported by other Kelowna media to have included a prop of a figure hanging from a tree on public property in front of the home, sparking a public reaction. (Joshua Fischlin/Black Press Media)A flag with a skeleton cowboy in front of a flying confederate flag hangs from a Bay Avenue home on Oct. 27, 2021. Part of the Halloween decoration was reported by other Kelowna media to have included a prop of a figure hanging from a tree on public property in front of the home, sparking a public reaction. (Joshua Fischlin/Black Press Media)
A Bay Avenue home features many Halloween decorations on Oct. 27, 2021. A reaction was sparked due to the decorations featuring confederate flag imagery and a prop of a figure hanging from a noose on a tree in front of the home, the latter of which was reported by other Kelowna media, and was taken down by the time Capital News arrived on scene. (Joshua Fischlin/Black Press Media)A Bay Avenue home features many Halloween decorations on Oct. 27, 2021. A reaction was sparked due to the decorations featuring confederate flag imagery and a prop of a figure hanging from a noose on a tree in front of the home, the latter of which was reported by other Kelowna media, and was taken down by the time Capital News arrived on scene. (Joshua Fischlin/Black Press Media)
A tree on public property in front of a Bay Avenue home was reported by other Kelowna media to have featured a figure hanging from a noose as part of a wider Halloween decoration. The figure was not on the tree when Capital News arrived on scene around 1:20 p.m. on Oct. 27, 2021. (Joshua Fischlin/Black Press Media)A tree on public property in front of a Bay Avenue home was reported by other Kelowna media to have featured a figure hanging from a noose as part of a wider Halloween decoration. The figure was not on the tree when Capital News arrived on scene around 1:20 p.m. on Oct. 27, 2021. (Joshua Fischlin/Black Press Media)
Bruce Ganton lives next door to a heavily-Halloween-decorated home that features confederate flag imagery and a prop of a figure hanging from a tree, the latter of which was reported by other Kelowna media. Ganton said he does not believe there was “sinister thought” behind the decorations. The hanging figure prop was not on the tree when Capital News arrived on scene on Oct. 27, 2021.Bruce Ganton lives next door to a heavily-Halloween-decorated home that features confederate flag imagery and a prop of a figure hanging from a tree, the latter of which was reported by other Kelowna media. Ganton said he does not believe there was “sinister thought” behind the decorations. The hanging figure prop was not on the tree when Capital News arrived on scene on Oct. 27, 2021.
A Bay Avenue home features a decoration of a skeleton riding a bicycle with another small skeleton in the handle basket, and a sign on the bicycle reading “ET Go Home” on Oct. 27, 2021. The decorations sparked a reaction due to the confederate flag imagery and a prop of a figure hanging from a tree, the latter of which was reported by other Kelowna media. (Joshua Fischlin/Black Press Media)A Bay Avenue home features a decoration of a skeleton riding a bicycle with another small skeleton in the handle basket, and a sign on the bicycle reading “ET Go Home” on Oct. 27, 2021. The decorations sparked a reaction due to the confederate flag imagery and a prop of a figure hanging from a tree, the latter of which was reported by other Kelowna media. (Joshua Fischlin/Black Press Media)
The front gate of a Bay Avenue home is locked, preventing media from knocking on the door to ask the resident about controversial decorations, on Oct. 27, 2021. (Joshua Fischlin/Black Press Media)The front gate of a Bay Avenue home is locked, preventing media from knocking on the door to ask the resident about controversial decorations, on Oct. 27, 2021. (Joshua Fischlin/Black Press Media)

A Kelowna home is being investigated by the RCMP after a Halloween display, which included a prop figure hanging from a tree and a banner depicting a flying confederate flag, garnered significant public attention on Wednesday.

“We have opened an investigation in relation to the circumstances of the effigy and the flag at that location,” Insp. Adam MacIntosh is quoted as saying in a statement. He added that they are taking the incident “extremely seriously” and are working together with bylaw officers to find an appropriate course of action.

“These symbols only serve to fuel hatred and division and such behaviour cannot be tolerated in our community and society.”

The Confederate flag has become commonly recognized as a white supremacy symbol, associated with slavery and the Civil War in the United States in the mid-1800s.

The prop figure hung by a noose on a tree on public property in front of the home was taken down Wednesday afternoon. When a Black Press Media reporter visited the scene the previously-hanging effigy remained on the home’s porch, made of what appear to be black gloves and a black bag.

The RCMP statement says that they are working to speak with the resident of the home about the display and will also be requesting that the flag be removed.

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran was quoted in the RCMP statement expressing gratitude to the RCMP for following up on “this terrible public display.”

“There’s no place in Kelowna for this kind of racist imagery, which is hurtful to people of colour and all who cherish an inclusive community,” Basran said.

Bruce Ganton has lived next door to the home for around 40 years. He said the man often puts up big Halloween decorations, especially over the last few years, and that he has “taken a lot of pride in doing a really good display.”

Ganton said he doesn’t believe there was negative intent behind the decorations.

“As you can see from the display, he’s gone through great lengths to make it look really Halloween-y, and I don’t think there’s that kind of sinister thought behind anything he does.”

He said his neighbour is a “pretty straightforward type of guy,” and that, though he doesn’t know him socially very well, he’s “pretty sure that there’s nothing there.”

The home’s front gate was locked when Black Press Media was on-site, preventing media from knocking on the front door to request an interview with the home owner.

READ MORE: Ways to take the waste out of Halloween

READ MORE: Kelowna man charged with attempted murder in Halloween night stabbing


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josh.fischlin@thefreepress.ca

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