If it was someone’s idea of a joke, then they have the sickest sense of humor imaginable.
Most likely, however, the hanging of photos of six Black Americans who have been infamously murdered — four of them at the hands of the police — from a tree in Milwaukee’s Riverside Park was meant as a threat and an act of intimidation towards the protestors who have hit the city’s streets to object to the systemic racism that has led to the unceasing deaths of African Americans at the hands of law enforcement and white vigilantes.
The photos were removed by members of a group calling themselves the Original Black Panthers after the laminated pictures were discovered hanging from tiny nooses in the tree in the public park. The group posted a video of their dismantling of the disgusting display in a widely shared Facebook post.
The effigies included in the heinous display of racism were of Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Botham Jean, Ahmaud Arbery, Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin, all victims whose deaths have inspired the Black Lives Matter protests that have swept the nation in the last month.
“Historically, African Americans have been hung and lynched,” King Rick, an activist member of the Original Black Panthers, said. “I don’t care what anybody says, they can justify it all they want to. It was disrespectful not only to the memories of these individuals — our beloved individuals — but also to the African American community, so I’m not hearing it.”
The group called the act “intolerable and unacceptable,” according to local news reports.
With local Milwaukee police claiming that they have not received any calls about the lynching in effigy, they are not bothering to investigate the incident, although the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department has opened an investigation after news reports of the racially-charged incident began circulating.
The Sheriff’s Department has asked that anyone with information on who might be responsible for the cruel and hateful display contact them at 414-278-4788.
Let’s hope that this is prosecuted like the hate crime that it certainly appears to be.
Original reporting by WISN-TV.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.