Toronto police are investigating a series of alleged hate crimes after local construction crews repeatedly discovered nooses hanging at their work sites.
Construction workers found two nooses hanging from work equipment on June 10 at a worksite in Michael Garron Hospital on Toronto’s east end. Ellis Don, the company running the construction site, said in a statement the nooses were found where two Black workers were stationed. Another Ellis Don crew found a noose at a financial district site on June 25. One day later, a Daniels Corporation construction crew working in Regent Park also found one.
A photo of the noose found at the Daniels company site shows the rope hanging on a floor high up in a building closed to the public. Toronto police said in a statement that the nooses found on June 10 were in “a closed construction site” that wasn’t “accessible to the general public.” The hate crimes unit is investigating the incident.
On Canada Day, a large group gathered in Toronto’s Regent Park to condemn the racist acts. Zahra Dahnani, one of the organizers of the gathering, told reporters she was disgusted by the nooses and felt the community had to push back.
“I’m so absolutely, completely disgusted that a person would go to a store, buy a rope, find out how to tie a noose and then go to a site where there’s Black workers and specifically put up this sign and symbol of hatred,” said Dahani. “What is wrong with that person, but what is wrong with our society that we continue to create people like that?”
In a statement Ellis Don said it is fully working with police and has hired a law firm to “conduct a full and independent investigation.” Geoff Smith, the company's CEO, described the hanging of the nooses as “hateful and racist actions.”
“These actions are not a joke,” said Smith in a statement after the first time nooses were found on one of his company's construction sites. “They are ignorant, and will come with harsh consequences which we will fully support.”
The Daniels Corporation said it considers the act a hate crime and is working with Toronto police.
The acts come during a time of great political upheaval as society reckons with the pervasiveness of anti-Black racism.
On June 21, the team working with Bubba Wallace, Nascar’s only Black full-time driver, found a noose in his garage at the Talladega Speedway.
The FBI investigated the incident and found that it had been there before Wallace was assigned the garage, therefore it wasn’t targeting him. However, that did not explain why the noose had been placed there in the first place.
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