A ten foot long hangman's noose was found tied to a beloved tree in Fort Green Park on Monday. Hate speech quoting Hitler was also found nearby on a tree stump a week earlier. Police are investigating the incidents. (Photo: © NYC Park Advocates) Click on images to enlarge.
By Geoffrey Croft
Police are investigating after a noose and racist graffiti were found inside a Brooklyn flagship park, NYC Park Advocates has learned.
On Monday a park worker found a ten foot long “adult size” hangman's noose from a tree inside Fort Green Park.
The disturbing discovery was made just before 12:00 while the worker made his morning rounds.
The park worker described the noose as, “heavy duty rope,” of brownish, yellowish color.
The employee climbed the tree and removed the offending symbol which was approximately 12 feet off the ground.
“I felt uncomfortable seeing that hanging there. Back in the day they used to hang innocent people, people of color,” he said.
The worker said he first thought maybe it was a Halloween prank but quickly changed his mind when he didn’t see any other evidence symbolizing it was a prank or related to Halloween.
“Instead it just it was just hanging there like someone had just been hung there.”
The intent and purpose of the noose left no doubt in the workers mind.
“I know racism still exists but now it's being targeted in Fort Green Park where I work,” said the parks employee who noted that the majority of his co-workers are people of color.
“It definitely is a hate crime,” he continued. “I don’t know if the message is for people who work in the park, I have no idea I couldn’t make that assumption," he said.
According to police racist graffiti was discovered the previous week on a tree stump about 20 feet from the noose.
The graffiti read, “they should have gotten rid of you when they had the chance,” and quoted Hitler.
Park workers painted over the graffiti with black paint.
The Parks Department worker said the noose coupled with what he described as “hate speech written on a tree stump” found a few feet away said the two incidents were connected.
“It definitely has a connection. If I was a forensic investigator I would think that went hand in hand with that,” he said.
The noose was vouchered by police as evidence.
Parks workers painted over the offending hate speech.
The incidents are being investigated by the NYPD as an aggravated harassment (anti-black).
The much beloved tree is a favorite for kids to climb. It is located up the hill about 20 yards west the of park’s popular tennis courts, and north/west of DeKalb Avenue and S Elliot Place.
It has been quite a last few months in that area of the historic park.
In June a homeless man wanted for the attempted murder of his girlfriend in Texas was arrested by police by the same tree after an eagle-eyed parks worker recognized the assailant.
In early August a homeless man groped a woman the park. Police arrested the assailant a few weeks later according to a city source.
In late August a Bronx man was arrested for stalking a high school freshman during tennis tryout.
The tree stump and tree where the hangman's noose were discovered are close by.
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