FBI investigating apparent rope found in black firefighter’s locker

The FBI is investigating after an apparent knot was found in a black firefighter’s locker in Bloomington, Minnesota, an office spokesperson confirmed to CBS News. The incident was first made public by the city’s mayor, who said Saturday that “a piece of rope similar to a lasso” was discovered in the locker on June 15.

“I am sorry to inform you of some horrible news about an incident at one of the City’s fire stations,” Bloomington Mayor Tim Busse said in a statement. “A piece of string tied to what appears to be a rough knot was discovered on June 15 in a black fireman’s locker at a Bloomington fire station.”

Bloomington is only 10 miles away from Minneapolis, where the death of George Floyd depart global protests against police brutality and racism.

Busse said the incident was reported to fire department leaders on June 23.

“I am upset, angry and embarrassed by this cowardly act. To be clear, this incident is very serious and is being dealt with aggressively,” Busse said. “The City of Bloomington, including the Fire Department, is committed to being a safe and respectful place to work for all employees. We will not tolerate or in any way tolerate such behavior.”

The mayor noted the “history of ropes being used as a symbol of hatred and intimidation and a horrible tool of violence,” and said he acknowledges that “knowing this incident can be particularly traumatic for members of our black community.”

Another apparent rope He was discovered earlier this month in the garage of Bubba Wallace, the only full-time black driver in NASCAR, who also helped lead the push to ban the Confederate flag from future events at the organization. The FBI investigated the incident, but concluded that the rope He had been there since October 2019 and no crime had been committed.

Wallace told CBS News in a interview It was a relief that he wasn’t the target, but he said he doubted the FBI’s conclusion that the rope was part of a “garage pull.”

Bloomington Fire Department Chief Ulie Seal said the act of “hatred, intimidation and battery” will not be tolerated. “The firefighter who brought this to our attention has shown extreme strength and courage and has done the right thing,” Seal said.

Busse said the incident emphasized that the city needs to continue to prioritize equity and inclusion.

“While the important work of racial reconciliation is taking place across the country and right here at home, it is clear that there is much more work to be done. I recognize that there is work to be done in the city of Bloomington, both in our organization and in our community, “Busse wrote.

“If we really want to be a safe and inclusive city, we can’t help but get the job done,” he said. “So while I am disappointed and discouraged, I remain committed to acting boldly to promote racial equity. I invite you to join me in doing the same.”