OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — Police are investigating after an effigy was found Thursday morning hanging from a noose on a tree at Lake Merritt in Oakland.
At 8:20 a.m., a resident called the Oakland Police Department to report a “fake body hanging from a noose” in the 2100 block of Lakeshore Avenue. The caller told police they removed it from the tree.
“I saw that it looked like a body wrapped up and I was like, whoa, what’s going on here?” Christina Lynch said.
Officers who responded found material stuffed in the shape of a human body with a rope tied around the torso and neck.
“Just my stomach turned and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” Lynch said.
They also found an American flag lying next to it, police said.
“Any symbol of hate, any symbol of violence doesn’t have a place in Oakland,” Mayor Libby Schaaf said.
OPD immediately notified the Federal Bureau of Investigation and both agencies are working to identify who is responsible for this incident.
This comes just two days after several nooses were found hanging from trees around Lake Merritt.
Both incidents are being classified as hate crimes, police said.
While the ropes and now this fake body are being investigated, some people in Oakland have taken it upon themselves to patrol the lake to get more eyes on what’s going on.
“It invigorates us to escalate our patrols,” Tur-Ha, Community Ready Core co-founder, said. “To watch more, to be better.”
A community safety organization is asking the community to come together and control the activity taking place at Lake Merritt.
“We are not asking anybody to engage, to fight anybody, to do anything of that nature,” Tur-Ha said.
“We just want eyes out because we know that typically a lot of these folks who do things like this are cowards and the more eyes that they have on them the less likely they are to show up, right?”
Noura Khouri showed up Thursday to help patrol.
“We want to send a really loud and clear message that it is unacceptable and won’t be tolerated,” Khouri said.
“We want to continue the legacy of Oakland and the Bay Area that this is not welcome here and we will stand together as a community to shut it down and shut it out,” Tur-Ha said.
OPD said there will be extra patrols around Lake Merritt.
The Department is asking anyone who may have information to come forward and contact investigators at (510) 238- 3728 or call the OPD Hate Crime Hotline at (510) 637-4283.
If you’d like to participate in the community patrol, organizers say to meet at the old Merritt Bakery parking lot at 247 East 18th St. at 7 a.m, 3 p.m. or 11 p.m. through Monday morning.