Three cardboard cutouts of black men were found hanging by nooses Saturday on the Berkeley campus of the University of California.
School spokeswoman Amy Hamaoui said police are trying to determine who hanged the effigies that were found at two prominent campus locations Saturday morning. The spokeswoman said the effigies appear to be connected to a noon-time demonstration nearby planned to coincide with a national protest against police brutality dubbed #blacklivesmatter. The effigies appear to be life-size photos of lynching victims.
The effigies had names of lynching victims and the dates of their death. At least one effigy had “I Can't Breathe'' printed on the front. Hamaoui said it's unclear who hanged the effigies.
“We are unsure of the intent,'' Hamaoui said.
Two of the effigies were removed by police and a student took down the third.
Organizers of the Berkeley protest were mystified as well.
“We just hope it's someone who wanted to bring attention to the issue,'' said Spencer Pritchard, 21, a UC Berkeley student and an organizer of the demonstration. Pritchard said about 200 protesters demonstrated in Berkeley with the goal to “disrupt business as usual to show that black lives matter.''
Pritchard said many of the Berkeley protests plan on attending a demonstration against police brutality starting in Oakland at 2 p.m. PST. A similar demonstration is scheduled at the same time in San Francisco and elsewhere in the country.
Re figures hung in effigy on campus, we take this act very seriously and are investigating as racial bias/hate crime, as relates to protests
— UC Police, Berkeley (@UCPD_Cal) December 13, 2014