The people of Oakland, California, deserve better than this.
Mayor Libby Schaaf plunged her city into a panic this week when she announced that a series of supposed nooses found hanging from trees in a city park would be investigated as a hate crime. The FBI is investigating the matter now, she told reporters at a somber, deadly serious press conference.
Schaaf’s announced investigation has almost certainly served as confirmation for some that something nefarious indeed happened at that park. After all, they would not go through the trouble of bringing in the FBI unless something serious had happened, right?
As it turns out, nobody had hung nooses. The ropes, which have been removed by city officials, were put up by a black resident, Victor Sengbe, who said they were part of an exercise swing system that he and his friends assembled for the benefit and enjoyment of parkgoers.
Amazingly, despite Sengbe’s explanation and video proof and despite how several members of the community who came forward immediately told law enforcement officials that the ropes were just part of a swing system erected months ago, Schaaf maintains the ropes are a hate crime until proven otherwise.