Palin Effigy Comes Down

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LOS ANGELES (AP) - Amid a growing frenzy of protesters and media surrounding his home, Chad Michael Morrisette decided his noosed Sarah Palin mannequin should be cut loose.

He and his partner had created the effigy of the GOP vice presidential hopeful three weeks ago and vowed to keep it outside their West Hollywood home until Halloween, despite widespread criticism from neighbors and local officials. On Wednesday the mayor convinced Morrisette the mannequin should come down.

"I explained to them that this could be dangerous to you and your neighbors," said Mayor Jeff Prang, noting that he received hundreds of venomous e-mails from people offended by the display.

"They were totally unprepared for this kind of international attention, for the amount of impact on their home and their neighborhood."

Besides a constant flow of angry callers, the homeowners had received a visit from the Secret Service and criticism from a Los Angeles County supervisor who ordered an investigation into whether the effigy constitutes a hate crime. On Monday MSNBC host Keith Olbermann dubbed Morrisette "today's worst person in the world."

n Wednesday, neighbors covered up the Palin mannequin with sheets, and more protesters showed up later in the day accompanied by a man driving a vehicle adorned with an effigy labeled "Chad," with a noose around its neck, said sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore.

There was a huge mob scene," Morrisette told the Los Angeles Times. "The whole thing became a life of its own."

Prang said he drove by after work and saw protesters and media around the home with helicopters overhead. Morrisette saw the mayor and waved him inside for a talk.

Afterward, the mannequin came down, but Morrisette kept the rest of his Halloween decor intact, including a display of Palin's running mate John McCain popping out of a flaming chimney.

Despite all the angry protests, Morrisette said he bears no resentment toward his neighbors or television personalities who
criticized him.

"I'm not angry at them," he said. "I respect their rights."

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-10-30-08 0228EDT