Racism

Oakland 'Nooses' Turn Out To Be Exercise Swings; Mayor Wants To Investigate Them As a Hate Crime Anyway

A white mayor is pursuing a racially fraught investigation of a black man for hanging exercise straps in a park. What could go wrong?

|

Yesterday, Robby Soave critiqued a Washington Post story about a blackface costume worn by an insignificant government contractor at a 2018 Halloween party. He called it "a new and depressing low point" in the annals of "cancel culture." If the news coming out of Oakland, California, is any indication, we've got a long way to go before reaching bottom.

The Associated Press reports that the city's (white) mayor, Libby Schaaf, has opened a hate-crime investigation after five ropes hanging from trees in a city park were discovered. Schaaf and other officials say that the ropes seem to symbolize nooses, and she told the press that the police must "start with the assumption that these are hate crimes."

But she knows that the ropes, sometimes described as straps or swings, were not intended to be nooses, because the (black) man who hung them has made that clear:

Victor Sengbe, who is black, told KGO-TV that the ropes were part of a rigging that he and his friends used as part of a larger swing system. He also shared video of the swing in use.

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

"It's unfortunate that a genuine gesture of just wanting to have a good time got misinterpreted into something so heinous," he told the station.

Schaaf is undeterred by such an explanation:

"Intentions don't matter when it comes to terrorizing the public," Schaaf said. "It is incumbent on all of us to know the actual history of racial violence, of terrorism, that a noose represents and that we as a city must remove these terrorizing symbols from the public view."

"These were the swings." @josephlocascio, on Twitter, June 18, 2020.

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.

Yesterday in Oakland, "a fake body hanging from a noose" was found in the same area, which Mayor Schaaf called "a deliberate and vile attempt to traumatize and divide Oaklanders." That sounds like a good description of the effigy, but it applies as well to her insistence on investigating Sengbe.

In moments of raw pain and anger, it's especially incumbent upon authorities to act with discernment, judgement, and restraint. Yet all around us, legal, political, and cultural leaders drive in the opposite direction, intensifying fear, hysteria, and resentment. One of the chief reasons George Floyd and Breonna Taylor were killed was because police acted stupidly and carelessly. It is depressing and distressing to see officials acting so poorly in the light of day.

Advertisement

NEXT: Perry Mason Gets Its Mandatory Gritty Reboot

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Don’t look like nooses to me and I find that triggering.

    1. My last pay check was $8750 just ecom working 12 hours for every week. My neighbor have found the estimation of $15k for a long time and she works around 20 hours for seven days. VDs I can not trust how direct it was once I tried it information…… Click here

  2. “‘Intentions don’t matter when it comes to terrorizing the public,” Schaaf said.”‘

    Sounds to me like the only person “terrorized” was a reactionary major.

      1. She’s a major something…

        1. Let me guess, it starts with a “B” and rhymes with witch?

          1. Bologna sandwich “

          2. Rhymes with cunt.

    1. And intentions absolutely fucking do matter. There are lots of legitimate reasons for hanging ropes in trees.

  3. “start with the assumption that these are hate crimes”

    Always start with your desired conclusion and work backwards to find the right “evidence”. In other words, do what every human does every day.

    1. Is there any intelligent life left?

      1. Was there ever any?

      2. Well, it is California.

    2. How can it be a hate crime when it isn’t any kind of crime at all?

      1. I’m pretty sure that pretty much every one of us who isn’t in the bag for totalitarianism knew the first time we heard the term ‘hate crime’ that the specific idea was to criminalize intent. And said as much.

    3. That’s the way we roll on Cali

  4. Just imagine the consequences if the dude had hung fake euros from the straps.

  5. Next on the agenda for the Oakland City Council: “rope control.”

  6. If you look up the term ‘dumb bitch’ you’ll see her picture next to the text.

    1. Think Jeff is there for most dictionaries.

      1. No, that’d be Sqrls. Jeff’s picture is under ‘lying bitch’.

    2. Schaaf is a white liberal–BIIIIIIIG differences between them and normal white people, self-loathing being the most notable.

      1. Maybe she is worried that somebody will make a potentially racist comment about black guys swinging from trees.

    3. Not that I’d disagree but…..do you realize how much support she gets in Oaktown?

      It’s at least a good example of mass hysteria as the Salem witch trials.

      What was that Santayana was rumored to have said about forgetting history?

      1. +2

        Good God! I’ve seen it in my own friends and family.

  7. So they only “symbolize” nooses.

  8. We are already at a place where the updated Aunt Jemima is a symbol of oppression, statues of Thomas Jefferson are torn down because he was a slave owner, and Wendy’s are torched for calling about a nuisance.

    We’re well past McCarthy into witch hunt territory, where dog whistles and subversive pacts with the underworld are hidden in plain sight. You just have to look.

    Eventually people will come to their senses, and there might even be some begrudging acceptance that no, maybe Trump isn’t literally Hitler.

    But the desire to slap the shit out of some people is just overwhelming, even if it is just adding fuel to the fire.

    1. Eventually people will come to their senses

      Citation needed.

        1. Hi Guys…… Did you know Most of the People lose their Jobs because of the pandemic and many people facing difficulty to live and to feed their family without a proper job in these days. But here is a hope i prefer you a good online job which surely gave you enough income to feed your family in these days. So if you want this then just you need to do is open this website and follow next instructions to get an easy home based job right now…………. Good Luck…………… ReadMore here

        2. +2

          Good God! I’ve seen it in my own friends and family.

      1. I’ve already been through umpteen moral panics where the accusations become more ludicrous and the public just stops, and moves on to the next moral panic.

        This too shall pass with maybe some lingering nuttiness off in the wings, but consider how unapproachable police reform would have been just a few years back?

        Unfortunately, it is being charted by idiots.

        But from marijuana reform to criminal justice reform, occupational licensing reform, etc.; we’ve made great strides in the past decade even though it doesn’t always seem like it.

        1. Eventually the current moral panic becomes boring and people’s attention drifts away. If they were truly coming to their senses, there wouldn’t be a next moral panic.

          1. Oh, I don’t know. Ask any average Joe over 45 if they remember the McMartin preschool case and they’ll tell you it was about a bunch of sick, child molesters who sacraficed infants during devil worship.

        2. Totalitarian socialism is a small price to pay for store bought weed

          1. Just take another soma.

    2. You read about the McCarthy era or the Salem witch hysteria and you say, “How could they have been so irrational?”
      Well, here we are. Look around.

      1. I still have the same question

        1. Same answer is staring you in the face.

    3. They just tore down the statue of President Grant (you know, the guy who won the War of Northern Aggression, also known as the recent unpleasantness). But at least they did manage to save some lives, they took the guns away from Elmer Fudd, he was a clear danger!

      1. Technically, “the late unpleasantness”

  9. It’s unfortunate that a genuine gesture of just wanting to have a good time got misinterpreted into something so heinous.

    Unfortunate? Unfortunate is an accidental slip of the tongue that has unforseen consequences. This is intentional. This is deliberate. It’s the farthest thing from “unfortunate.”

    1. That being said, I’m happy to report that honest Americans across this great land will sleep better tonight knowing that this courageous mayor stands ready to protect them from the rising ride of black white supremacy that is sweeping over this country.

      1. Clayton Bigsby could not be reached for comment.

      2. Unfortunate black white supremacy no less!

  10. This racialism from the chattering classes, academia, media and government leaders is a disease and it needs to stop.

    1. At this point I think the best thing we can do is let people run amok, unchallenged. They lose cachet every time the camera is on them.

      1. Basically–if they try to invade your community, repel them with force. But if they’re intent on shitting up their own nest, let them. Truckers are already refusing to deliver food into some of these places, so with any luck they’ll start fighting over resources and start killing each other instead.

        1. I’m tempted to have that attitude, but they’re not shitting their own nest. It may be their town, or their region, but there are people and businesses in these areas. Do we just tell them to fuck off and move?

          1. I understand where you’re coming from. And that’s going to be one of the consequences of this lunacy. Minneapolis is about to see the biggest wave of white flight in its history over the next 5-10 years, because those folks will largely have the resources to get the hell out. It will be residents, it will be businesses, and then the city council will either go the route of Detroit, sinking into further dysfunction and deterioration, or they’ll implement various “urban renewal” schemes to get those same people back into the city to spend money.

            No one will have to tell them to do so. They’ll make that decision on their own. I wouldn’t be surprised to see places like Boise, Reno, Grand Junction, Odessa-Midland, etc., explode in population over the next few years–relatively smallish cities where real estate is still affordable, but have all the amenities that come with living in a larger populated area.

            1. I live just outside of Boise. No thanks. A lot of people that flee areas run by Democrats because of the high taxes, high cost of living, high crime rates, onerous regulation, etc., tend to forget why they fled when they get to their new area. They start demanding that the government there be more like the government that they left.

              See Colorado and parts of Texas.

              1. The Seattlites are headed your way.

              2. Saw it in Colorado for over 30 years–I know exactly what you’re saying. That’s why it’s critical for your community to be vigilant against leftism before the virus settles in and turns your community into a soy-soaked shithole. Anywhere that leftism isn’t continuously pushed back against, HARD, is colonized by it and turned into the Borg. You and your community have to make it explicit to these types that their politics aren’t welcome, and keep them locked out.

                Remember, they’ll use your good faith and willingness to subvert you and your community. You want to keep the character of your town intact? Don’t let these people feel welcome when they start arriving.

                1. *willingness to be fair*

              3. Do you have any idea of how many times I’ve heard that same story from locals in smaller, relatively calm towns, over the years?

                It even happened to my former city of residence with the influx of investors who bought property after the Great Recession and the Section 8ers that they rented too.

                I’m from CA and can tell you that nothing scares a local in places like Boise or Crested Butte as much as when you tell them you’re from CA and looking to move to there town.

                Hell, it even happens in the more remote parts of CA when you tell them you’re from the Bay Area.

          2. its called the SJW risk factor and tyranny from sanctuary cities/states that keep adding population ( just wait till the municipal sewage systems fail from 20 living in a one bedroom). I’ve been talking about this for years, especially Reason getting into bed with these people (housing activists and open borders, which means subsidized or free housing activists and tyranny from the population added cities onto states and feds). Minneapolis was already experiencing flight due to the city councils banning of single family homes, banning of credit checks and criminal background checks on rent. No one with half a brain wants to share a party wall agreement with HUD once the democrats take power and mandate section 8. Minneapolis and St. Paul have extremely high levels of crime (no media attention).

            Make no mistake though, you can’t “move” your way out of this, the cities are coming for and will annex and tax away anyone who owns anything or has an income.

          3. Let them take care of their own problems.

        2. The Seattle approach.

          1. Basically, yeah. 100 years ago, Seattle’s administrators neutered the IWW by preventing them from taking ferries into the city. This time around, it will be towns on the fringes watching to make sure they don’t try to break out.

        3. Killing and eating each other?

    2. Designer babies are not going to save us. This is it, the idiocracy.

  11. Does anybody else find it insanely ironic that a black man placed ropes in trees so that he and his pals could exercise by “swinging through the trees”?

    1. You said it, not me!

    2. Sengbe: “Well, since the mayor won’t let us do it in the park, I’ll have to go back to doing in on my porch.”
      Everybody: *sniggers*
      Sengbe: “What?”

    3. Not a “real” black on the context we use it. He’s African.

      I’ve had direct experience with black employee’s ostracizing an African woman we hired. She wasn’t black enough for them.

      Luckily, she was really bright and showed them how to put the “African” in African American.

      Who’d have thunk it.

  12. 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.

    Mr. Sengbe, please play that card. It would be devastating to the mayor’s office if he was to make an issue of the fact that a white leader is siccing police on a black citizen. I don’t know of anyone more sympathetic.

    1. That would make their head explode. Would love to see how the liberal elitists would talk themselves out of that one.

      1. Sadly, I’m sure the libs will be promoting her as the next governor soon. She’s cut from the same cloth as Newsom and she gets two Brownie points for gender and religion.

        We always keep score here in CA.

        So much for race/gender/ethnic/sexual orientation nuetrality.

    1. ^ +1,000,000

    2. Nailed it.

  13. I was worried that California was about to lose its place as the land of woke progtards, but now I am reassured.

  14. “start with the assumption that these are hate crimes.”

    What’s that you say? Presumption of innocence? What the hell are you babbling about!!??

  15. everyone is turning into a complete idiot over this recent race riot/BLM hysteria.

    I say this as a staunch supporter of BLM who thinks we should eliminate police departments.

    1. The mayor of oakland is a goddamned moron.

      1. Please, do not insult morons like that.

        Thank you for your support.

    2. You support a Marxist organization?

    3. I say this as a staunch supporter of BLM who thinks we should eliminate police departments.

      So what you’re saying is that she’s such a moron that even an idiot like you can see that?

    4. Haha. Oh, come on. Admit it. If it was a white dude who hung those non-nooses for the exact same purpose you’d want him in jail.

      It’s curious that you “staunch supporter” types don’t get more credibility.

  16. “Intentions don’t matter when it comes to terrorizing the public,” Schaaf said.

    Well, at least she practices what she preaches.

  17. “Intentions don’t matter when it comes to terrorizing the public,” Schaaf said.

    ummmm. that is actually the DEFINITION of terrorism you moron. The intention behind the violence is what makes it terrorism.

    Good god. I’d say this is orwellian but really she’s just an idiot.

    1. She’d need a major increase in IQ to qualify as an idiot.

    2. Not just terrorism, but hate crimes as well. You literally have no hate crime without intent

  18. “It is depressing and distressing to see officials acting so poorly in the light of day.”

    Where have you been for the past 2 – 500 months, exactly?

  19. Intentions don’t matter when it comes to terrorizing the public,

    I’m not the only one who initially read this in “I don’t give a shit about your intentions, I’m a fucking terrorist!” sense, right?

  20. He called it “a new and depressing low point” in the annals of “cancel culture.” If the news coming out of Oakland, California, is any indication, we’ve got a long way to go before reaching bottom.

    I don’t think there is a bottom, unfortunately. “Cancel culture” is a result of stupidity and since stupidity is the world’s only infinite resource, it stands to reason that there is no bottom to the pit of cancel culture.

  21. a deliberate and vile attempt to traumatize and divide Oaklanders.

    Wait, I thought intentions don’t matter? If the point of the effigy was to steel Oaklanders and unify them behind vigilante justice, would the Mayor be OK with it?

  22. Nope, apparently we’ve not yet reached the peak of the parody/farce stage yet.

  23. God only knows what she would think if she saw a black man water skiing with a white man piloting the boat!

    1. Black men can’t ski.

  24. “Intentions don’t matter when it comes to terrorizing the public,” Schaaf said. “It is incumbent on all of us to know the actual history of racial violence, of terrorism, that a noose

    It’s a fucking swing you idiot.

    This is what left wingers have normalized: the relationship between assertion and reality is irrelevant, everyone must act as if the statement is true even though we all know it isn’t. So every time you whine about Trump lying remember this is the business you’ve chosen.

  25. I thought a hate crime was a charge added on to a real crime. If you can be charged with a hate crime for simply doing something offensive but not harmful, we have already reached totalitarianism.

    1. Truth, it’s the new hate speech!
      During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. – George Orwell

      This is the great thing about the BAR Association’s imaginary world of statutory rules. They can make something a crime, just because some douche in a suit wrote it down on a piece of paper.

  26. This is the literal definition of a moral panic.

  27. “Intentions don’t matter when it comes to terrorizing the public,” Schaaf said.
    Interesting words, coming from a Municipal Terrorist who makes a living destroying other peoples lives, extorting their money & property through statutory schemes & robbing their liberty.
    She should be impeached and indicted immediately and probably subjected to a thorough psychological evaluation, before every child with a rope swing is in danger of being the victim of a SWAT raid.

  28. “…In moments of raw pain and anger, it’s especially incumbent upon authorities to act with discernment, judgement, and restraint.”

    And my pony?

    1. In a 45 day quarantine – – – –

  29. “Intentions don’t matter when it comes to terrorizing the public…”
    Someone probably beat me to this, but the definition of a hate crime literally requires a biased motivation. So apparently, the mayor is completely insane.

    1. The left has gone completely insane. She’s just following the herd.

    2. the mayor is completely insane

      well, it is California, so pretty much normal type insane.

  30. When my proggie friends are crying after Trump gets re-elected I am going to come back to this article to share with them a prime reason of why their progressive ideology was rejected. They ask me to acknowledge my “privilege” and I will ask them to acknowledge their part in getting Trump re-elected.

    1. This is always the issue. I’m thinking to myself that I might need to vote Democrat for the first time to help enact police reforms, then stuff like this reminds me why I can never vote Democrat. Those guys are nuts.

      JoJo it is, I guess. She’ll get votes from the hundreds of people like me across the nation. v_v

  31. Just speculation, of course, but my guess is that the mayor knows it’s stupid to go after this, but she’s afraid to drop it because she knows how irrational and unconcerned with facts the social justice mob is. If she drops it, she’ll be the mayor who downplayed racial injustice.

    1. Maybe. But the mob can no longer be pacified.

      The more you bend to them the more they see it as weakness the more they will demand more.

      Time to stand up to it once and for all.

      Dude. They’re attacking the statues of Washington and Lincoln.

      If that’s not a sign of illiberal malaise I don’t know what is.

      1. Most mobs can be pacified; you just need use enough firepower.

  32. This mayor is a absolute idiot, a dolt who is not worthy of holding office and needs to be retired and told to move along..She has demonstrated that she cannot grab her own butt with both hands and fails to understand the use of the rule of law…on purpose….Get
    these kind of morons out of office and let’s get some grown-ups who understand the US Constitution and representation…

  33. Google will issue a new design to address this great injustice soon….

  34. The effigy is, of course, a hoax but who cares. Even after the reason for the ropes was revealed other TV stations were reporting it as a hate crime with no mention of the true nature of the ropes.

  35. It is almost like these Progressive mayors and governors are in some kind of contest to see which can be the biggest idiot and capitulator to the mob.

  36. oh come on, those straps have handles, like the TRX workout straps.

  37. “…she told the press that the police must “start with the assumption that these are hate crimes.”

    THIS is the whole problem with policing. ASSUME a crime, always.

  38. This would be totally nuts, but remember what part of the country this is.

  39. “Intentions don’t matter when it comes to terrorizing the public,” Schaaf said. “It is incumbent on all of us to know the actual history of racial violence, of terrorism, that a noose represents and that we as a city must remove these terrorizing symbols from the public view.”

    JFC.

    It’s all I’ve got.

    JFC.

    What in the fucken hell is going on? And it’s not just in the States. It’s in Canada too this kind of pyscho thinking.

    We went off the rails somewhere.

    1. Follow the money trail. This kind of nonsense was fine when it was confined to college campuses and students were expected to snap back to reality once they entered the real world of work. But at some point these corporations realized they could cash in on the snowflake generation by actually catering to their unrealistic expectations, and suddenly we’re all college students now. My Fortune 500 company is forcing all 50,000 of its employees to attend racial sensitivity training every Friday afternoon, during summertime hours, an added FU to the employees. I can’t tell you what these seminars are about, because I log on to show I’m present and then watch Seinfeld reruns.

      1. Good for you. I worked in financial services and they always were ‘sensitive’ about these issues but meanwhile they foreclose on homes while during the pandemic it’s not like they really did that much for mortgage forgiveness payments. Which I don’t blame them by the way because these things can’t be ‘forgiven’ if you know how they’re structured.

        Knowing they operate in basically a ruthless eco-system but still pay lips service to ‘woke’ issues only leaves them open to ridicule as hypocrites.

        Back in the late 90s I worked for a mutual funds call centre and they sent our team for these sort of ‘training’ before it was all the rage.

        It was so spectacularly stupid we basically cracked jokes and rolled our eyes for eight hours; including women and ‘minorities’ who there too. The poor lady couldn’t get her material out in any smooth manner because of our antics.

        She almost even agreed some of it was dumb.

        But here we are.

        My buddies are still in financial services and it has gotten progressively worse to the point of inusufferability. CEO’s are so full of shit they can’t even see it actually angers people in private. They can’t see their pandering is patronizing and dysfunctional.

        Thank God I quit and went off to work for myself. I would have gotten cancelled in this environment.

        1. Imagine your CEO is that dip shit running Chick-fil-A.

          That shit he pulled? He’d be the cuck watching a BBC bang his wife.

  40. If you elect Stalinists to positions of authority, it should come as no surprise that they act on their political views.

  41. I did Not able to understand this Investigate “Them As a Hate Crime Anyway”

  42. This is a religious movement, where crackpots and charlatans vie with other contestants, for the notoriety of being the most awake to a world of pettiness. I think such idiots are ‘ringers’, plants by the Republicans to make the Democrats appear dumber than they actually are.

    1. Well John Gall, while I’m no GOP fan, I would argue that the Democrats are actually dumber than they appear. If they want a reason for Trump, they should look in the mirror. Applauding inaccuracy, stupidity and cultural hate is the reason that normal people can’t stand them.

  43. This mayor is a known nut case but the Oakland crazies love her.

  44. Time o exercise your second amendment rights.

  45. One more case of a mayor that is completely incompetent and lacks any ability to be a leader. Shame on Oakland for electing her.

Please to post comments