OFFENSIVE YARD SIGN CAUSES A STIR IN GRANGER
from Fox28, South Bend Indiana
A moving sale in Michiana is stiring up some controversy.
The man having the sale put a sign in his yard saying… in glaring and not so pleasant terms… African Americans and Hispanics are NOT welcome.
Popeye Balcom says he doesn’t want African Americans and Hispanics to steal something from his sale.
Balcom lives right down the road from here… and people who live around here can’t believe what he’s doing.
Popeye playing the harmonica"
He goes by Popeye… wears a Ku-Klux-Klan shirt… and sometimes sports a white bed-sheet.
Popeye Balcom: "How do you like me now boys?"
But Popeye Balcom claims… he’s not racist.
Popeye Balcom: "I don’t want to listen to their (expletive).
That’s why I put the sign up. I don’t want them coming in here, but I mean, I love black people."
But the sign in his yard proves otherwise.
We can’t show you the sign unedited. But it prohibits African Americans and Hispanics from shopping at his sale.
Josh Boose: "We are going to talk to some neighbors, to see what they think about what’s happening, just down the street."
Leighann Whybrew: "In this day and age, it makes me surprised and sad that some people are so narrow-minded."
Just down the block at another garage sale… people couldn’t believe what their neighbor was doing.
Linda Alford: "I think it’s terrible. I think anybody that wants to go to a garage sale should be able to go and enjoy themselves."
Carla Kelly Near: "I can’t believe someone would put that on their house for a garage sale that’s open to the public. I’m a big time garage-saler and I go to all of them, and I’m going to this one."
Carla changed her mind when we told her Balcom was armed.
She says…. if she didn’t have her grandson with her… she would have gone, just to prove a point.
Mark Dobson: "It’s the most offensive thing I’ve seen since I’ve been in office."
County Commissioner Mark Dobson says… county police are stepping up patrols in the neighborhood. Other than that, there’s little that can be done.
Mark Dobson: "The language is protected by the First Amendment, so we can’t do much about that."
As for Popeye Balcom… he claims he’s a peaceful man… but wants to select, who can and "can’t" come to his sale.
Trina Robinson of the South Bend chapter of the NAACP says "you can’t control how people feel, you just have to educate them and accept it."
Balcom says he moving to Ohio in the near future.