Oakland mayor: It doesn't matter if the "nooses" found in our public park turned out to be hand swings

For your Friday enjoyment, a delightful mix of mistake, moral panic, and virtue-signaling by a left-wing politician willing to go any lengths, no matter how stupid and pandering, to prove how woke she is.


It started a few days ago with a report of nooses found hanging from a tree in a park in Oakland. The city was stunned. Had some white supremacist chosen to lash out amid the protests over George Floyd’s killing by displaying a notorious symbol of lynchings? The matter had to be investigated.

It didn’t take long to get to the bottom of it:

According to Oakland police, officers discovered five ropes Tuesday afternoon attached to trees at Lake Merritt…

Victor Sengbe told ABC7 News the rope is part of a rigging used by him and his friends as part of a larger swing system

“Out of the hundreds, thousands of people who walked by, no one even thought it looked anywhere close to a noose,” said Sengbe. “Folks have used it for exercise, it was really a fun addition to the park that we tried to create.”

Sengbe told us the small piece of rope, still up in a tree is all part of the same system.

Sengbe, who is … not a white supremacist, spoke to the media about it:


Here’s a video of one of the “nooses.” It does appear to be standard rope…

…but other “nooses” are, shall we say, less noose-like:

“Police said several community members came forward during their initial investigation to say the ropes were used for exercise and a man came forward to say he put them up several months ago,” reported the AP.

So it was, mercifully, a false alarm. An incident that seemed poised to raise racial tensions in Oakland was actually just a misunderstanding. No one was trying to intimidate anyone. Now the mayor could call a press conference, tell the public what happened, and douse any embers of suspicion that might be starting to burn in the community.

But Oakland’s mayor didn’t do that. She’s a Democrat running a reliably Democratic city in a reliably Democratic state. Instead of putting her constituents at ease, this was her moment to throw fuel on those embers and peacock about how down with the struggle she is. And so she declared that, Sengbe’s information notwithstanding, the incident would continue to be investigated as a hate crime. A chilling line in the clip below: “The intentions do not matter because the harm is real.” The intentions do matter if what we’re worried about here is racial hatred, but her point is in keeping with the ethos of woke leftism that prioritizes the alleged victim’s feelings above all. Did the rope-swing hanging from the tree make you feel “unsafe”? Then your local government needs to show you how much it cares. Telling you that you shouldn’t feel unsafe because those were swings, not nooses, won’t cut it.


Nick Gillespie writes, “Linger for a moment on this: A white mayor dismissing the black resident’s explanation charging ahead with an emotionally fraught investigation against him that could result in enhanced penalties.” It couldn’t possibly result in Sengbe being charged, could it? Schaaf seems willing to go a long way to make this molehill into a mountain in the interest of burnishing her political brand but hopefully not that far.

Because everything is terrible now, yesterday Oakland PD found an effigy hanging in the same park where the “nooses” had been found. Is there a dastardly white supremacist on the loose trying to terrorize Oaklanders? Did some left-wing provocateur fashion the effigy to try to redeem the fake news about the “nooses”? Or was it just a tasteless prank by some idiot looking to capitalize on the sudden panic about racist displays in city parks? Whatever the answer, it’s hard to avoid the assumption that Schaaf’s insistence on racializing this otherwise innocuous misunderstanding in a high-profile way gave someone the idea to start hanging things from trees. Way to go, Mayor Karen.


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