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Obama DOJ to investigate 'racist' Independence Day outhouse float

Nebraska float draws attention from Obama DOJ.
Nebraska float draws attention from Obama DOJ.
Screengrab/KMTV

On the prodding of angry Democrats, the Department of Justice has decided to step into the controversy over a float that was part of the Norfolk, Nebraska, Independence Day parade, Omaha.com reported on Friday. The float consisted of a zombie-like mannequin standing near an outhouse labeled “Obama Presidential Library.”

The float drew accusations of racism from members of the state Democratic Party, CBS said. According to the Omaha World-Herald, neither the float nor the truck pulling it identified a sponsor.

As a result, the DOJ sent a member of its Community Relations Service team -- a group that involves itself in discrimination issues. On Thursday, the unidentified team member met with representatives of the local NAACP, the mayor of Norfolk and The Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the organization that organized the parade.

Dale Remmich, the creator of the float, said the mannequin represented himself, not Barack Obama. According to World-Herald staff writer Emerson Clarridge, Remmich is upset with Obama's handling of the Veterans Affairs Department.

While the float did not sit well with Democrats, Liz Guthrie, a resident of Pierce, Neb., said that from her vantage point, she could hear the assembled crowd laughing and clapping as the float passed by. Guthrie took a photo of the float which has since gone viral on social media sites.

But Glory Kathurima, a black woman living in Norfolk who attended the parade with her nine-year-old daughter, was offended by the float. Hunter Woodall reported that Kathurima expressed her displeasure in an email she sent to Norfolk Mayor Sue Fuchtman, the Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce and the Norfolk Daily News. She also contacted the local Odd Fellows lodge.

Despite protests from Democrats and the NAACP, parade committee member Rick Konopasek said it was one of the most popular floats in the parade. A three-judge panel gave it honorable mention, the World-Herald said.