Frankfort’s Neil Huffman Auto Group on Tuesday tweeted that a company employee had been terminated following an internal investigation, noting, “There is no place for hate or intolerance at any of our dealerships.”
By Wednesday, the Louisville Courier-Journal identified the employee as Terry Bush, president of the Kentucky Three Percenters group.
Though Bush had no comment on the matter, his wife Patsy Kays Bush told the newspaper, “He was fired because this governor is more important than the regular joe out in this state trying to put food on their tables.”
According to the group’s website, the Three Percenters are “committed to standing against and exposing corruption and injustice.” The Southern Poverty Law Center identifies the anti-government, pro-gun organization as part of the right-wing militia movement.
Patsy Kays Bush said the group was not involved in the creation of the effigy, though her husband helped hang it from a tree.
Sunday’s protest had been promoted as a “Patriot Day 2nd Amendment Rally,” drawing demonstrators angered by restrictions Beshear implemented to curb the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Photographer Gerry Seavo, who covered the protest, said the effigy was brought out by the event’s organizer, Ben Kennedy.
“It was eerie to me because as an African American, there’s these intergenerational trauma triggers,” he told HuffPost. “It’s a lynching. It’s a lynching. That popped into my mind and I thought, ‘What am I doing here?’”
The act was lambasted by Beshear, who called it a “celebration of assassination on our capitol grounds.”
Lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle felt similarly.
“Doing this in front of our Capitol, just a short walk from where the Governor, First Lady, and their two young children live, is an act that reeks of hate and intimidation and does nothing but undermine our leading work to battle this deadly disease and restore our economy safely,” Kentucky state House Democrats said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the state’s Republican Party said in a statement that it “strongly condemns the violent imagery against the Governor.”
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