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Oakland residents stunned to find effigy hanging from tree, after nooses reported

A police officer takes a photo of a figure that was hanging in effigy from a tree near Lake Merritt in Oakland
A figure was found hanging in effigy Thursday at Lake Merritt in Oakland, a day after apparent nooses hanging from trees spurred a hate-crime investigation.
(Oakland Police Department)

Oakland residents found a fake body hanging in effigy on Thursday, one day after the mayor addressed reports of knotted ropes resembling nooses hanging near the city’s Lake Merritt.

The Oakland Police Department is working with the FBI to investigate the latest incident.

According to a Police Department statement, a witness called at 8:20 a.m. Thursday to report “a fake body hanging from a noose.” The witness removed the figure from the tree before the police arrived.

Images of the effigy, some provided by Oakland police and others on social media, show a rope wrapped around the neck and torso of a human-shaped object. A U.S. flag is next to it.

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The effigy found at Lake Merritt in Oakland was wearing black sweatpants.
The effigy found at Lake Merritt in Oakland was wearing black sweatpants.
(Oakland Police Department)

The images indicate the figure was dressed in black sweatpants.

Federal and city law enforcement agencies are actively investigating the incident — along with five noose-shaped ropes reported yesterday — as a hate crime.

“We are in a raw and outraged moment as a city and a country right now,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said in a statement.

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She called the effigy “a deliberate and vile attempt to traumatize and divide Oaklanders” and said the city was united against hate.

The discovery of the ropes came Wednesday as the FBI and California Department of Justice are monitoring investigations into the deaths of two Black men found hanging from trees in Victorville and Palmdale. Authorities initially said the men died by suicide.

The incident also comes as Oakland has been roiled by protests and property damage in response to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, as well as a federal investigation that revealed Tuesday that the suspect in the fatal shooting of a guard in Oakland in late May had ties to a right-wing extremist movement known as “boogaloo.” Air Force Sgt. Steven Carrillo, 32, also faces state charges in the June 6 killing of a Santa Cruz County sheriff’s sergeant.


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