A black man who used several ropes in trees in a park near Oakland’s Lake Merritt as exercise aids is speaking out after they were mistakenly identified as “nooses” and the city launched a hate crime investigation and notified the FBI.
ABC News reported:
Victor Sengbe, who is black, told KGO-TV that the ropes were part of a rigging that he and his friends used as part of a larger swing system. He also shared video of the swing in use.
“Out of the dozen and hundreds and thousands of people that walked by, no one has thought that it looked anywhere close to a noose. Folks have used it for exercise. It was really a fun addition to the park that we tried to create,” Sengbe said.
“It’s unfortunate that a genuine gesture of just wanting to have a good time got misinterpreted into something so heinous,” he told the station.
Sengbe commented on social media:
It’s not a noose, this guy climbed the tree and put up the rope for a swing months ago, folks used it to exercise… ITS NOT A NOOSE pic.twitter.com/r1vZ8dyBqk
— Victor Anari Sengbe (@OWOMAhN) June 17, 2020
However, Mayor Libby Schaaf said: “Intentions do not matter. We will not tolerate symbols of hate in our city. The nooses found at Lake Merritt will be investigated as hate crimes.”
Intentions do not matter. We will not tolerate symbols of hate in our city. The nooses found at Lake Merritt will be investigated as hate crimes. pic.twitter.com/B1f1SwZ4tK
— Libby Schaaf (@LibbySchaaf) June 18, 2020
Two days later, a fake body was found hanging from a tree near the lake, which is the subject of a separate hate crime investigation.
Oakland is a Democrat-dominated city that has been a hub for left-wing activism and protest for decades. A movie theater near Lake Merritt frequently shares anti-Trump messages on its marquis.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.