A length of string with a loop found tied to a tree in Fair Lawn apparently was used by a utility company and doesn't appear to be a noose, as some had suspected, police said.
"At this point, we do not believe this is a hate crime but a rope that was put up by a utility company (Verizon, Optimum, etc.) to help with utility wires that had been down in the area," Sgt. Brian Metzler said Sunday afternoon.
"We have calls in with the utility companies and are awaiting responses," Metzler said. "This will be referred to our detective bureau either way."
Resident Kelli McCloud of the borough's Warren Point area posted a photo of the string on her property on Facebook, generating a social media buzz that continued growing deep into Sunday afternoon.
McCloud said her family reported the incident to police and then used pruners to cut down the string, which was about seven or so feet off the ground.
"It was a very thin gauge of twine, about 2mm thick," she said. "Not industrial looking. More like packing style polypropylene."
Some have pointed out that the loop appears to be a twist in the string, which is secured and not draped. it also doesn't have the "hangman's knot" that creates the noose effect.
Others have cited the case of what was believed to be a noose found in the garage of black race-car driver Bubba Wallace was actually a pull rope installed before the stall was assigned to him.
Some still aren't satisfied. They insist it's racist.
They include Mayor Kurt Peluso, who said he was "absolutely disgusted, but not surprised."
Peluso wrote in a Facebook post:
"In the past year I have seen: the Proud Boys march in Fair Lawn twice and when I speak up against it I hear it’s not a big deal, or I went out to lunch with them and they were nice people; when a former council candidate wears a 3% mask I’m told it was just a joke; when black and brown residents spoke up at a council meting and said they feel treated differently, others in the audience had to speak down to them and tell them that racism doesn’t exist; when we have events meant to bring everyone together alternative flags have to be present too and when I speak up against it I’m anti this and that.
"There was a time when Radburn did not allow Jews, to be part of the association, now every faith is welcomed; in the late 1990s a gay student was criticized because he wanted to bring his boyfriend to the Fair Lawn high school prom, now anyone can bring who they want.
"I know these events do not represent the majority of Fair Lawn. There are some that want to see us fail, and go backwards instead of forward, they will not win. We will be better tomorrow than we are today."
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