No malicious intent behind nooses found in tree in Milwaukee park

    A picture of the nooses and images. (Posted on Facebook by Darryl King Rick Farmer II and the Original Black Panthers of Milwaukee)
    A picture of the nooses and images. (Posted on Facebook by Darryl King Rick Farmer II and the Original Black Panthers of Milwaukee)
    Sheriff Earnell Lucas official photo
    Sheriff Earnell Lucas

    Milwaukee County Sheriff Earnell Lucas provided an update Friday at the city’s Safety Building—the beating heart of Milwaukee’s criminal justice system—on the nooses found hanging in Riverside Park. The nooses, holding  pictures of murdered  Black men, women, and children, were hung in a tree, creating a wave of controversy in the city. The Milwaukee County Sheriff Office (MCSO) became aware of the display on June 20.

    Lucas announced that the investigation has concluded and that it  found no evidence of criminal misconduct. The sheriff’s office tracked down a local 53-year-old African American man, who said he created the display to spark a conversation in the city. A press release by the MCSO noted, “he further indicated that he wanted to teach his son a lesson about the history of lynchings in America and how they have taken on a different form from America’s past. The man indicated it was never his intention to stir up the kind of controversy that the discovery of the placards has created.”

    The man’s display was created as new cases of African Americans found hanging from trees made news  in other states. While some have been ruled apparent suicides, other cases are still under investigation. The sheriff stated, “no matter how well-intended the individual was in placing the placards in public as an attempt to begin a dialogue, the takeaway from this, for all of us, is that coming to grips with our country’s recent history and dark past requires an ability to speak meaningful dialogue in a more thoughtful and sensitive manner.”

    Isiah Holmes
    Isiah Holmes is a journalist and videographer, and a lifelong resident of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Holmes' video work dates back to his high school days at Wauwatosa East High, when he made a documentary about the local police department. Since then, his writing has been featured in Urban Milwaukee, Isthmus, Milwaukee Stories, Milwaukee Neighborhood News Services, Pontiac Tribune, and other outlets.