Halloween display at Vallejo home stirs outcry

- A Vallejo man is feeling the brunt of a social media firestorm over a Halloween display in his front yard.

Jeff Baldwin created a "haunted" yard in front of his home on Sacramento Street.

But some said it went too far.

"I'm not apologetic. I don't think i did anything wrong," Baldwin told KTVU.

The trouble began brewing after a photo appeared on Facebook. It shows a mannequin in a black hood hanging from the gallows. One typical Facebook post reads: "Racism is alive in Vallejo, California on Sacramento Street. I always knew Vallejo had racists."

Some apparently interpreted the display as depicting a lynching of an African-American man.

Baldwin says it never occurred to him.

"The last thing on my mind was anything racial. I was kind of shocked when they even mentioned that was something people were thinking," he said.

KTVU spoke with his next-door-neighbor, who is African American.

"It didn't strike me as having racial overtones," she said. She did not want KTVU to use her name.

"If we don't know people or have any interaction with them, the first thing you see, I could see where people would think that. But I didn't think that," that neighbor said.

But the backlash apparently reached the Mayor of Vallejo. Baldwin says he received a courtesy call from police telling him about the outcry.

"He just wanted to let me know so i don't draw the wrong crowd, in case i wanted to change it. People were hurt by it.," said Baldwin.

Baldwin says it appears the black execution hood is the cause for concern. Baldwin has removed it.He says he hasn't heard a complaint since.

"Seems like everyone forgot it was Halloween. It's not like I had it in my yard 365 days a year. I'd understand it then," he said.

Baldwin says he intends to have a haunted yard next Halloween, but that he will be more mindful of what he is putting up. 

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