UK police investigating signs that call Obama a racial epithet

Epithets could result in charges

lblackford@herald-leader.comMarch 25, 2011 

University of Kentucky officials are investigating two incidents in which someone hung signs that called President Barack Obama a racial epithet.

On March 15, a professor noticed one such sign hanging on a door to the UK School of Law on South Limestone. He turned it in to campus police, who are investigating, said spokesman Jay Blanton.

Early Thursday morning, third year law student Ches Clark said he found a sign affixed to a bus shelter on South Lime near Maxwelton Court. The sign said "How Do You Spell Nigger? OBAMA."

The letters looked to be cut out of a menu, glued to another piece of paper and photocopied, Clark said.

UK police could charge whoever posted the signs with third degree criminal mischief, Blanton said. It's not clear whether anyone from UK was involved, but police are investigating because the first sign was on UK property, he said.

Clark took the sign to his law-school class on racism and criminal law and posted a copy of it on his Facebook page.

His law professor, Roberta Harding, said the sign looked juvenile, yet someone had gone to a lot of trouble to make it.

The general sentiment in class was that whoever posted the sign should "get over" Obama being president, Harding said.

"I think people were upset in a positive way," she said.

In 2008, two college-age men were arrested after hanging an effigy of Obama from a tree on the UK campus with a noose around its neck.

The grand jury dismissed charges of second-degree burglary, theft by unlawful taking and disorderly conduct against Hunter Bush and Joe Fischer, who had graduated from UK.

Fischer and Bush expressed remorse but said they were reacting to news about a Sarah Palin effigy in California.