The Jacksonville Sheriff’s office is investigating after discovering an officer-dressed mannequin hanging above an Interstate-95 overpass on Saturday in what appeared to be a mock lynching.
The mannequin, dressed in a New York Police Department uniform and wearing a pig mask, was spotted hanging from the overpass near the Zoo Parkway exit, according to First Coast News.
“Around 6:20 a.m. officers responded to a call about a potential suicide by hanging on the overpass. At the scene, officers determined that it was a mannequin dressed in an NYPD uniform with a pig mask, officers said,” the outlet reported.
The incident is under investigation.
“Our goal, at this point, is to identify persons of interest for the sake of, most importantly, the members of our community and for officer safety,” the Sheriff’s Office said. “We are thankful that this was not a real person.”
Sheriff Mike Williams released a statement on the “extremely disturbing” discovery and described the action as a “deliberate attempt to exasperate an anti-police sentiment and drive a divide in our community.”
“This incident was carried out by people wanting to undermine our dedicated efforts to keep our city safe,” Williams said.
“Too many good citizens are working with us to keep our community safe through active partnerships, and frank conversations about the challenges we all face,” he continued, emphasizing that the act “will not be tolerated by our agency or our community, and we will work together to hold those responsible accountable”:
Please take a moment to read the statement from Sheriff Mike Williams regarding the mannequin that was found hanging this morning.
— Jax Sheriff's Office (@JSOPIO) June 20, 2020
“We are working to come together & invoke change & growth in our community. We won’t let an appalling & disturbing act like this derail our progress,” Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry (R) reiterated.
“I won’t tolerate actions like this so blatantly meant to intimidate our police nor will I stand for it against any citizen,” he added:
We are working to come together & invoke change & growth in our community. We won’t let an appalling & disturbing act like this derail our progress. I won’t tolerate actions like this so blatantly meant to intimidate our police nor will I stand for it against any citizen. https://t.co/MA64hvVuR0
— Lenny Curry (@lennycurry) June 20, 2020
Those with information regarding the incident are urged to contact JSO.
The incident comes as tensions rage in the country as Black Lives Matter protests take aim at police officers across the nation.