A sixty-year-old African American Parks employee discovered this doll hanging from a chain this morning at Ranaqua, the Parks Department's Bronx headquarters. The worker briefly spoke with WPIX the following day. (Photos: NYC Park Advocates)
By Geoffrey Croft
An African American baby doll was found hanging from a metal chain noose in the Parks Department's Bronx borough headquarters, NYC Park Advocates has learned. Police are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.
A sixty-year-old African American male Parks Department employee found the doll hanging from its neck inside the garage this morning around 8:30am. The doll is approximately 15 inches high.
The employee - a grandfather of two - had just returned to work from being out sick - was described as looking " traumatized," by a parks employee at the scene. "He looked like he was going to have a stroke. I feel really bad for him."
The incident occurred inside Ranaqua, the Parks Department's Bronx headquarters located at 1 Bronx River Pkwy.
According to a city source three KKKs were also found scratched in a unisex bathroom on the first floor.
Investigators from the NYPD were on the scene. Employees were being interviewed at the 49th Pct.
A female parks employee leaving the building tonight said, "This is crazy, especially to find this during the holiday's.
This evening the Parks Department released the following statement:
For attribution to NYC Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe
“The Parks Department does not tolerate hateful acts such as this or any form of discrimination. We are committed to maintaining a safe and respectful workplace for all staff. We immediately reported this incident to the NYPD and are fully cooperating in their investigation. We urge anyone with knowledge of this matter to immediately contact the NYPD so that the perpetrator or perpetrators can be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Delay in reporting it.
According to police however the incident was not reported until 12:03 pm, more than three hours after the doll was first discovered by the Parks Department.
Several parks sources also strongly refuted the Commissioner's claim that the incident was "immediately reported" to the police.
"That's BS, they waited for hours," said a parks source at the scene. "They probably would have tried to sweep it under the rug if they could have."
A park source said last week eight hundred dollars worth of tools were stolen from a van at Ranaqua , and a camera was recently blackened out.
"This place is a mess."
In 2008 the paid out $ 20 million dollars to settle a 2001 federal discrimination lawsuit brought by 11 then current and former employes that charged the former Parks Commissioner Henry Stern and Adrian Benepe fostered a racially hostile work environment for black and Hispanic employees.
The lawsuit contended that Mr. Stern made racially derogatory remarks and tolerated offensive symbols, like three hangman's nooses that were displayed over the last seven years on parks property.
Eyewitness News - December 20, 2011 - By Lucy Yang
WPIX - December 21, 2011 - By Francesca Maxime
The Wall Street Journal - December 21, 2011 - By Sumathi Reddy
Police Investigate Black Doll Hung by Noose at Parks Dept Office
WNBC - December 21, 2011
WCBS - December 21, 2011
NY1 News - December - 22, 2011
Probe noose at Parks HQ
New York Daily News - December 21, 2011
My Fox - December 21, 2011
Associated Press - December 21, 2011
UPI - December 21, 2011
gothamist - December 21, 2011 - By John Del Signore
New York Times - February 27, 2008 - By Diane Cardwell