Officials in the Minneapolis suburb of Bloomington said Saturday that they have asked the FBI to investigate after a piece of rope resembling a noose was found in a Black firefighter’s locker.
The rope was tied into what appears to be a crude noose and was discovered at a Bloomington fire station on June 15, according to a news release from the city. The discovery was reported to fire department leaders eight days later, on Tuesday.
“Acts like this that embody hate, intimidation, and aggression will not be tolerated,” Bloomington Fire Chief Ulie Seal said in the release. “The firefighter who brought this to our attention has demonstrated extreme strength and bravery and has done the right thing.”
The Bloomington Fire Department has about 120 paid-on-call firefighters, with six fire stations serving a population of about 85,000 residents.
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."
“I recognize that learning about this incident may be particularly traumatic for our Black community members given the history of nooses being used as a symbol of hate and intimidation and a tool of horrific violence,” Busse wrote in a statement posted online.
“… While the important work of racial reconciliation is being done around the country and right here at home, it is clear there is much more work to be done. I recognize that there is work to do in the City of Bloomington, both in our organization and in our community. If we truly want to be a safe and inclusive city, we can’t shy away from doing the work.”
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 city on Saturday did not release any images showing the rope. The city plans to provide an update to the public on Monday.