When 60-year-old city park worker Anthony Crum came to work on Tuesday morning he discovered this doll hanging from a chain inside his workplace at Ranaqua, the Parks Departement headquarters in the Bronx. The Police are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime. The incident has attracted a considerable amount of media attention. (Images: NYC Park Advocates)
Parks Commissioner Adrain Benepe had a meeting at Ranaqua on Thursday to discuss the issue.
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 and current Parks Commissioner fostered a racially hostile work environment for black and Hispanic employees.
- Geoffrey Croft
In a PIX 11 News TV exclusive, the Parks Department employee who said he found a black, baby doll hanging from a chain noose in his Bronx shop said the discovery left him "kind of shocked...and confused."
60 year old Anthony Crum, who hands out equipment to maintenance personnel who fix benches and swings, told PIX 11 he found the 15-inch doll hanging from a metal chain about 8:30 Tuesday morning. When PIX 11 turned up at the Bronx Parks headquarters Wednesday, we arrived as NYPD officers were interviewing Crum at the spot where he said he noticed the doll.
The NYPD is investigating the incident as a hate crime. KKK writing was found in a bathroom, not far from the place where the doll was discovered hanging.
Crum, a grandfather of two who was raised here in New York City, told PIX he didn't think he had a problem with any fellow employees. He was only recently assigned to this indoor job, after returning from August sick leave, on December 9th. Crum--who's worked in the Bronx Parks division for eight years--said he's had heart trouble and other medical issues. "I don't like to be taken out of my 'comfort zone'," Crum said. "And now I'm being taken out of my comfort zone."
Crum said he dealt with racism a few times in high school. He told us he didn't know anything about the KKK scrawling found in a bathroom not far from his shop. "It seems like it's blown up too fast," he told PIX. "I feel like there are good people in the world and there are bad people. I prefer to be with the good people, regardless of their race, age, religion. I'm really a peaceful person."
The New York City Parks Department issued a statement late Tuesday that said it "does not tolerate hateful acts such as this or any form of discrimination." Supervisors told employees not to speak with the media, during the police investigation. "It's very upsetting, mam," one African-American employee said to me, as he jogged away from our camera.
Geoffrey Croft, president of NYC Park Advocates, reported the Bronx Parks division had recent trouble with theft of tools and a surveillance camera blackened out.
In 2008, the city paid out $20 million dollars to settle a lawsuit brought by black and Latino employees, who claimed the former Parks Commissioner fostered a racially-hostile work environment. The employees we encountered briefly on Wednesday said personnel at the Bronx Parks division got along.
When we last saw Anthony Crum on Wednesday, he was heading to a doctor's appointment. "I don't like to churn things up," he said.
Parks Employee Who Found Black Doll Hanging From Noose: "It Left Me Shocked and Confused"
WPIX 11- December 21, 2011 - By Mary Murphy
A Walk In The Park - December 20, 2011 - By Geoffrey Croft