Police investigating after noose found hanging around statue's neck
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The University of Virginia Police Department is investigating a reported hate crime.
According to police, the incident occurred around 11:15 p.m. Wednesday on the 100 block of Ruppel Drive.
Police say that a security officer saw a noose hanging around the neck of the Homer statue around 4:20 a.m. Thursday.
The UPD has launched an investigation into the incident.
Security video shows a person climbing the statue, putting a noose around the neck and then walking away.
The suspect appears to be a man wearing a dark-colored jacket, jeans and dark-colored shoes.
The footage is still being reviewed, and police say further information regarding the suspect will be released as it becomes available.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the UVA Police Department at (434) 924-7166.
UVA President Jim Ryan sent a message to the university community on Thursday afternoon, saying that this incident appears to have been an act intended to intimidate members of the UVA community.
Because of the association of a noose with the lynchings of African-Americans and the potential intimidation, officials have determined that this meets the criteria of a hate crime, resulting in the community alert that was sent out early Thursday morning.
"I recognize that this morning's alert was jarring for those who received it," wrote Ryan. "There is simply no place in our community for this type of conduct, and we will undertake every measure to find out who did this and to hold them accountable. As that work continues, I want to assure every member of this community that we are working to keep you safe and to make the University of Virginia a place where everyone is welcome, regardless of their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, political ideology, or other unique characteristics."
Further information regarding the investigation into this incident will be available here.