UC Berkeley police are investigating the hanging of "disturbing" effigies near campus landmarks, a school spokeswoman said Saturday.
Two effigies were discovered hanging from Sather Gate shortly after 9 a.m. and a third was found near the campanile, according to spokeswoman Claire Holmes.
Police seized two of the life-sized cardboard cutouts from the gate as evidence and are asking for people with information about them to contact law enforcement, Holmes said.
At least one of the effigies depicts a black man and is stamped with the words "I can't breathe" – a refrain among protesters at the anti-police brutality demonstrations that have roiled the campus this week.
Detectives are trying to determine the intent of the effigies, Holmes said.
"It could be racially motivated. It could be part of a statement in support of the people protesting police violence," Holmes said. "We are looking at it from both aspects."
The Bay Area campus and its surrounding community were roiled last week by often violent protests against the police killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in New York City. Protesters broke store windows, marched onto highways and blocked train lines. Hundreds have been arrested.