On Wednesday, the City of Oakland, and that part of the city itself that watches mainstream media, was rocked by news that someone put a hangman’s noose in a City of Oakland Public Works truck that was being used by two black employees at the time.
According to reports, the news of the incident came at 5 PM, and via the Oakland Police, who are now charged with managing an investigation.
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan made a comment that’s only seemed to fan the flames of anger: “There’s the general stuff around who gets promoted, who doesn’t get promoted – that kind of thing, but nothing that has been a racial issue.”
Oakland’s Interim City Administrator Henry Gardner, himself black, promised an investigation that would be “vigorous, it will be thorough, it will be complete and there will be severe consequences if we can identify who put it there.”
IF, is the operative term here, because not only has this kind of problem happened before, and I’m told by Oakland Public Works friends, this year, but the persons who have done it have never been caught. Moreover, there’s a reported climate of racism at the Oakland Public Works outlet over at the City Corporation Yard on Edgewater Drive, near the Oakland Airport.
The racism is not the kind that current laws can easily catch. It’s not overt. A friend of this blogger said, this week, that it’s expressed on the bulletin board of the men’s bathroom out there at the City Corporation Yard on Edgewater Drive. “There was something written about Latinos on the bulletin board,” the worker said,” but I know it wasn’t done by a black person, because it was the black employees who took charge and reported it, and called a meeting to have something done about it. But this kind of thing with the noose has happened before, and they never have caught the person.”
One reason a suspect has never been caught is the city has never took the matter hard enough such that it would issue a substantial reward for anyone who’s report led to the successful identification of the the right suspect – something like $20,000 or more. Moreover, the Oakland Police said they’ve not investigated reports like this one before, this year.
That statement, coupled with sources to this blogger stating that other racist incidents have happened this year, and that ‘noose appearances’ have happened in past years, without anyone catching the perpetrator, can only lead to the conclusion that this latest investigation, one involving the Oakland Police, may not turn up the person who did this terrible thing either.
Unless the city puts reward money behind it.