An effigy of Kentucky Gov. Beshear was hung from a tree at the end of a Second Amendment rally

A group of protesters holding a rally outside of Gov. Andy Beshear's mansion at the state capitol in Frankfort, Kentucky, hung an effigy of the governor on a tree. CNN speaks to a journalist who witnessed the event.

Posted: May 26, 2020 3:51 PM
Updated: May 26, 2020 3:51 PM

A group of protesters holding a rally outside of Gov. Andy Beshear's mansion at the state Capitol in Frankfort, Kentucky, Sunday hung an effigy of the governor on a tree outside.

The protest was advertised on Facebook as a Patriot Day Rally to exercise Second Amendment rights.

As the rally was winding down, someone drove up in a pick up truck and pulled the effigy of Beshear out of a bag and hung it on a tree, Gerry Seavo James told CNN.

The effigy had a note around its neck with the Latin phrase "sic semper tyrannis," which roughly translates to "thus always to tyrants." Generally attributed to Brutus, the phrase was shouted by the assassin John Wilkes Booth when he shot President Abraham Lincoln and is also the state motto of Virginia.

James, a freelance journalist, has been attending and documenting Second Amendment rallies over the past month, he said.

"It's a very chilling image to see in modern America. And especially as an African American man," James explained.

After the effigy was hung from a tree another man came up and cut it down, James said.

"There's a gentleman that came up. He was pretty upset about it, and he cut it down. And he was like this has no place at this rally. We're trying to be peaceful," James said.

Democrats and Republicans condemned the actions toward the Democratic governor.

"The act that was displayed on Capitol grounds today, near where the Governor and his young children live, was wrong and offensive. This type of behavior must be condemned," Crystal Staley, communications director for Beshear, said in an email to CNN Sunday night. "As Kentuckians we should be able to voice our opinions without turning to hate and threats of violence. Put simply -- we are and should be better than this."

Sen. Mitch McConnell and the state Republican Party also reacted to the news on Twitter Sunday night, denouncing the actions of those involved.

In a tweet, McConnell said, "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."

The Republican Party of Kentucky tweeted about the incident. "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."

Correction: An earlier version of this article misidentified two men shown in a photo. The photo has been removed until CNN can confirm their identities.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 46915

Reported Deaths: 2681
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11499683
Lake5053242
Elkhart316443
Allen2717128
St. Joseph186366
Cass16369
Hamilton1518100
Hendricks1386100
Johnson1254118
Porter71237
Tippecanoe6778
Madison64864
Clark63844
Bartholomew58244
Howard56057
LaPorte55326
Kosciusko5124
Vanderburgh4806
Jackson4653
LaGrange4657
Noble45728
Hancock43735
Boone43443
Delaware42949
Marshall4273
Shelby42025
Floyd37144
Morgan32531
Montgomery29320
Grant29026
Clinton2852
Monroe26628
Dubois2646
White26010
Decatur24832
Henry24315
Lawrence23624
Vigo2288
Dearborn22723
Harrison21022
Warrick21029
Greene18432
Miami1812
Jennings17111
Putnam1688
Scott1607
DeKalb1594
Daviess14116
Orange13523
Wayne1346
Perry1279
Steuben1262
Franklin1248
Jasper1142
Ripley1147
Carroll1102
Wabash1102
Fayette987
Newton9710
Whitley884
Starke853
Randolph784
Huntington712
Wells711
Jefferson701
Fulton681
Jay680
Washington661
Knox630
Pulaski621
Clay604
Gibson592
Rush563
Adams481
Benton480
Owen471
Sullivan441
Brown381
Blackford372
Posey360
Spencer351
Fountain302
Tipton301
Crawford290
Switzerland260
Martin220
Parke220
Ohio140
Warren141
Union130
Vermillion130
Pike90
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 55257

Reported Deaths: 2903
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin9825417
Cuyahoga7392372
Hamilton5605197
Marion273038
Lucas2669302
Pickaway218441
Summit2079206
Montgomery191826
Mahoning1805231
Butler151144
Columbiana128860
Stark1079112
Lorain98367
Trumbull91665
Warren81421
Clark7619
Belmont54322
Delaware54115
Fairfield52916
Tuscarawas52910
Medina50632
Lake48018
Miami45531
Licking44212
Portage42858
Ashtabula42544
Wood40451
Geauga39942
Clermont3906
Wayne35951
Richland3255
Allen30540
Mercer2788
Darke24525
Greene2449
Erie23422
Holmes2203
Huron1992
Madison1928
Ottawa13923
Crawford1345
Washington13020
Putnam12615
Sandusky12614
Hardin12012
Morrow1161
Ross1133
Auglaize1044
Coshocton902
Monroe8817
Jefferson832
Union801
Hancock781
Hocking788
Muskingum761
Preble701
Williams682
Guernsey673
Lawrence670
Clinton660
Shelby644
Fulton610
Ashland581
Carroll583
Logan581
Wyandot585
Brown541
Defiance493
Fayette460
Knox451
Highland441
Athens431
Champaign391
Scioto380
Seneca332
Perry321
Van Wert320
Henry290
Paulding230
Adams221
Pike220
Vinton222
Jackson180
Gallia141
Harrison121
Meigs110
Morgan110
Noble110
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Overcast
79° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 81°
Angola
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 86°
Huntington
Broken Clouds
83° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 86°
Decatur
Broken Clouds
88° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 88°
Van Wert
Broken Clouds
88° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 88°
More Heat & Humidity Sunday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events