Like the swallows returning to Capistrano every March or the cicadas, which are currently swarming the East Coast after a 17-year absence, noose sightings occur with a distressing regularity. Last year’s sighting was made in June in a park in Oakland, with the offensive reminders of Jim Crow hung menacingly from tree limbs.
Mayor Libby Schaaf immediately launched a hate crime investigation only to discover that the knotted lengths of rope had been placed there by Victor Sengbe, who is himself black and used them as part of his exercise routine.
Now it’s happened again. The College Fix reports:
Earlier this week, a pair of black Penn State University professors reported a “noose” in a tree behind their house.
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As reported by the PSU student newspaper Daily Collegian, the professors said the incident was “deeply distressing to them and their family.”
The Centre Daily Times notes the profs believed the “noose” was “deliberately placed [on the tree] to harass them.”
As with the case in Oakland, police promptly opened a probe that included an inspection of the neighborhood. And, as was the case in Oakland, the “nooses” were not placed by anyone harboring malicious intent toward the professors or anyone else. In fact, they weren’t nooses:
… [A]ccording to the professors’ neighbor who was interviewed by police, the “noose” actually was part of a swing set. The neighbors’ kid told police he merely had thrown the rope “into the woods.” … [T]he rope just “happened” to fall on the tree.
Sometimes the nooses turn out to be hate crime hoaxes. In this particular incident it remains unclear whether the professors are satisfied with the police’s determination.