A business owner is insisting he isn’t racist, although the Confederate flags and nooses hung at his Discount Tree Service store tell a different story.
The paraphernalia was hung at Robert Tomanovich’s tree store in Livonia, Mich., according to the New York Daily News. When people began to complain about the flags and the noose Tomanovich had hanging around the store, he decided to display another noose. The 55-year-old says the first was in honor of a friend who hung himself. Furthermore, he and his wife insisted that they weren’t racist and Tomanovich simply liked the colors of the Confederate flag. When it comes to the addition of the second noose, the business owner says it was out of spite over the backlash.
His alleged southern roots were also questioned. Tomanovich claims he grew up in Kentucky, but failed to provide proof. Neighbors have claimed his tactics are to improve business, but he says otherwise.
“I don’t need to defend this to nobody. My business is doing very well,” he said. “I only want this story to get bigger. I want people to know I’m not a racist.”
He also spoke out about the noose theme, claiming that he and his African-American friends have laughed about the incident.
“I know black guys, I have black friends,” he said. “We’re all laughing at this stupidity. Do you know how many white guys were hung back in the day? This isn’t racist. But all of a sudden it’s out of control.”
Tomanovich slammed local reporters for not talking to his alleged African-American employee, but WXYZ explained that the man wasn’t credible.
Livonia Police told reporters Tomanovich’s actions won’t fall under hate crime claims because no specific race was targeted in the “decorations.” They do plan to look into the incident.
SOURCE: NY Daily News | VIDEO CREDIT: News Inc.