Minneapolis officials asked the FBI to investigate after a rope-like piece of rope was found in a black firefighter’s locker.
The rope was found at a Bloomington fire station on June 15, and was not reported for a week. The rope was tied to what appeared to be a rough knot, according to reports.
“Acts like this that incorporate hatred, intimidation and assault will not be tolerated,” Bloomington Fire Chief Ulie Seal said in the statement. “The firefighter who brought this to our attention has shown extreme strength and bravery and has done the right thing.”
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Bloomington Mayor Tim Busse said he is “disgusted, 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 plans to bring in a mental health consultant “to address the emotional, social and psychological trauma that results from racial traumatic events.”
Racial equity will be the focus of a City Council meeting on July 13, he said.
The event resembles a similar incident in early June when Seattle firefighters found a rope at their station. A lieutenant found the knot at a station where the knot is practiced inside the station.
“As soon as we were notified, our EEO investigator / advisor responded immediately due to the sensitive nature of the concern that was raised,” Seattle Fire Chief Harold Scoggins said in an email sent to the entire department. “Like any department investigation, the details are kept confidential to maintain the integrity of the investigation process.”
“Rest assured that the Department is taking this matter seriously and intends to do a full and fair investigation.”
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NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace found a rope in his garage at Talladega Speedway, triggering an investigation into a possible hate crime. The FBI determined that the rope had been present in the garage since at least October and was probably not directed at Wallace.
However, the entire NASCAR field offered a challenging demonstration of support for Wallace before the FBI concluded its investigation.
“It was not directed at me or my family, but someone still knows how to tie a tie. And if they did it as a bad joke or not, who knows? But it was good for the public to see. It still won’t change most, or some people’s opinion that I’m a hoax, but it is what it is, “Wallace said during an online news conference on Friday.
“You see what is happening outside of sport and the way we react, the way it caught my eye, I thought it was done the right way.”
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Minneapolis has said it will provide an update on the situation on Monday.
Associated Press contributed to this report.