Islip, NY – A U.S. mail carrier has refused to make deliveries at one Brentwood homeowner’s residence because he alleged that the Halloween decorations in the man’s front yard were racist.
In addition to the bats, ghosts, and graveyard scene Richard Beatty set up in his front yard, he also erected makeshift gallows with a skeleton hanging from a noose, WCBS reported.
Beatty said he’s been displaying his homemade decorations in his yard for years without a problem, but that his mail carrier, who is black, raised concerns about the décor this year.
“The postmaster himself came here and knocked on my door and said he was suspending my mail until I took this stuff down,” Beatty told WCBS. “I said, ‘do what you have to do because I’m not taking it down.’”
The homeowner denied that the noose – which sometimes hangs freely when it is windy – was intended to be racist.
“I think it’s ridiculous,” he told WCBS. “It’s not meant to be racist. It’s not meant to offend anybody. It’s here to be scary, spooky. It’s a graveyard. It’s spooky. It’s Halloween. That’s what it’s all about.”
The post office refused to deliver Beatty’s mail for one day before they sent in a fill-in mail carrier.
“I don’t think the post office of all people should be the ones telling me what I can and can’t do on my own property,” said Beatty, who has also filed a complaint with the inspector general, WCBS reported.
According to a postal service spokesperson, the post office can refuse to deliver mail “based on personal or physical safety,” WCBS reported.
The postal service said it will “monitor conditions on a day-to-day basis.”
One local resident said she agreed with the mail carrier, and alleged that the noose needs to be taken down “because he’s disrespecting the other African-American neighbors,” WCBS reported.
Another neighbor argued that the gallows don’t present a danger to anyone.
“There’s only two reasons basically that they can stop the mail and that’s if it’s unsafe conditions for carrier or if his life is threatened by a dog or icy conditions, not a Halloween decoration,” the neighbor added.
“It’s just a prop, like all these other things,” Beatty reiterated.
He said that he doesn’t have a “racist bone in his body,” and that his mail carrier is being overly-sensitive about the display, WCBS reported.