Noose Discovered Hanging from Goalpost at Davis High Stadium Has Public Officials Concerned

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Details are sketchy at the moment and Superintendent Winfred Roberson and Mayor Joe Krovoza are reportedly expected to issue a joint statement, perhaps as soon as today, after officials found a noose hanging from the uprights of the south goal post at the Davis High Stadium during the Juneteenth celebration this past weekend.

The investigation is still underway.  Officials are taking this matter very seriously, believing it very important that all people in this community feel safe.

Officials have stressed that they are not treating this as a prank.  The incident has been reported to the Davis Police Department for investigation.

At this time officials do not know if children or adults are responsible for displaying what they are calling a “symbol of violence and hate.”

Lt. Paul Doroshov of the Davis Police Department told the Vanguard late on Monday evening that he will be assigning a detective to look into this matter further.

Right now he said there was nothing other than the noose itself to suggest any type of hate message behind it, but obviously given sensitivities and the history of such a symbol they will be examining that question far more closely in the coming days.

The officials the Vanguard has spoken to have withheld comment until some sort of statement is made by the city and school district.

However, each of them stressed the importance of a critical balance between vigilance on the one hand and trying not to overreact on the other.

While the officials made it clear this incident is being treated a criminal matter and a potential hate incident, right now we simply do not know whether this was in fact an act of hate, or some kids thinking they are being funny by riling up the community.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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40 thoughts on “Noose Discovered Hanging from Goalpost at Davis High Stadium Has Public Officials Concerned”

  1. rusty49

    99% likely just kids fooling around

    .9% chance someone did it purposely to stir the pot (like the time the speaker at UCD spray painted her own car with hate epitaphs)

    .1% chance that it’s really someone who’s deranged and serious

    100% positive that Davis liberals will blow it way out of porportion

  2. hpierce

    Ironic… the ‘hangman’s knot’, is just that… a knot. Properly tied, and placed, with the appropriate “drop” used, it can be a relatively humane form of execution, used for 100’s of years. It was used to execute those who conspired (or alleged to be conspirators) in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

    It (the knot) got it’s “racist” connotations primarily in the late 19th century, and into the 20th, for being associated with social terror, for the “crime” of being ‘black’, even while it was still used to execute ‘death penalty’ convicted criminals. In some states, it may still be approved for the latter purpose.

    The fact that it appeared during a “Juneteenth” observance indicates that the individual who did it is at least immature, and probably is “acting out” as a wannabe racist. I think a true racist would have actually harmed someone.

    I strongly suspect that there will be an ordinance adopted to make the possession of a rope with the knot on it a crime. The knot is not (pun intended) the problem. The problem is attitudes. I’d be more sympathetic to an anti-capital punishment person being offended, EXCEPT for the fact that it appeared at the time it did. Other than umbrage over any attitude, or lack of intelligence, tell me… did anyone actually feel threatened? I suspect the noose is more representative, in Davis, as a tool someone uses to commit suicide (has happened more than a few times in Davis). The person(s) responsible should be found, publicly humiliated (including any parents of those responsible), that humiliation used as a teaching moment for the community, and move on.

  3. Gunrock

    yawn… as long as the media types care about this kind of thing, idiots will continue to try and get attention by doing dumb things like this. Ignore it, let the grounds keeper throw it away before anyone sees it and eventually the idiots who do things like this will be forced to go back to revving their engines really loud when they go through intersections for attention.

    Oh wait, this is Davis… Lets get a strike-force together, call the Governor and have 100 messages plaster the media with weepy demands to end the persecution of goal posts.

  4. David M. Greenwald

    Elaine: The public officials in this town thought long and hard as to what the appropriate response would be. I discussed the matter with several myself. What you stated was at the forefront of everyone’s mind and yet everyone believed in the end that they could not simply ignore it.

  5. hpierce

    [quote][/quote]everyone believed in the end that they could not simply ignore it. True… but by openly publishing it, the chances of getting anyone to come forward and identify those responsible, has pretty much disappeared.

  6. David M. Greenwald

    It really was not a question about whether to publish this. Joe Krovoza and Winfred Roberson are about to release a statement. Police often publicize these things because it helps to catch who did it. So, Hpierce, I don’t think the experts agree with your assessment.

  7. Rifkin

    Dave: [i]”Officials have stressed that they are not treating this as a prank.”[/i]

    Rusty: [i]”99% likely just kids fooling around.”[/i]

    I agree with Rusty that this probably is just a prank. But it’s an ugly sort of prank. It’s not the kind of thing that anyone sees and gets a laugh or feels good about the place they live. To me this sort of thing is similar to graffiti. No one wants to live in a community where idiots mar property with their ugly spray-paintings. Such vandals have no concern for the feelings of others. The kids who did this have that same sort of lack of interest in how it makes others feel–or worse, their intent was to make people feel creepy.

    As far as the involvement of the police, I don’t see any role for them in a case like this, unless there is some connection to possible victims. That is, if there were a note that said, “Watch out, Malays (or any other hated group or individual)!” then it could have been a hate crime. Same thing if there had been some incident which preceded this.

  8. Phil Coleman

    The police were summoned. Assuming the person(s) responsible are identified, what crime has been committed? “Malicious mischief” MAY fit, but that is a stretch.

    To call it a “hate crime” is even a further stretch. The intent is found in the head of the responsible, and it may be nothing more than an attention-getting prank. Absent any incriminating evidence or comments from the responsible this matter would probably never be prosecuted by the District Attorney. Some kind of judicial or administrative act by the school is far more appropriate.

  9. David M. Greenwald

    Paul Doroshov said that the police are treating this as though it was a hate crime. Marc Hicks, an African American, who has been a school resource officer is the one that reported the incident to the police. Still waiting on the statement from the city.

  10. Rifkin

    [i]”Marc Hicks, an African American, who has been a school resource officer is the one that reported the incident to the police. Still waiting on the statement from the city.”[/i]

    Marc was my teammate in football. He had talent on loan from God. I had talent on loan from Cod.

  11. Frankly

    [i]”Paul Doroshov said that the police are treating this as though it was a hate crime.”[/i]

    Hate crime?

    Or maybe it was just someone’s lame attempt at art. Or a lame attempt at a political statement. Or someone proud of their knot tying skills. Or, someone that gets a thrill stirring up the Davis reactionaries.

    I would put money on this being either a stupid high school prank, or the work of some race-obsessed social activist frustrated by the lack of genuine evidence of racial hate.

  12. biddlin

    “the work of some race-obsessed social activist frustrated by the lack of genuine evidence of racial hate. ”
    Common occurrence in Davis ? Example(s) please ?

  13. Edwin S

    [quote]Or maybe it was just someone’s lame attempt at art. Or a lame attempt at a political statement. Or someone proud of their knot tying skills. Or, someone that gets a thrill stirring up the Davis reactionaries. [/quote]

    Jeff Boone,
    Just to make sure I’m reading your comment in the proper context, can I confirm whether you noted and are aware of what Juneteenth is? It’s “Freedom Day” or “Emancipation Day,” a holiday celebrating the abolition of slavery.

  14. Anne

    What is if was a political statement Jeff Boone? Does that make it right? No it does not. I find it interesting that when some people in Sacramento had a hanging noose in their front yard in opposition to the war the more conservative members of the public were outraged. Even some conservatives in DAVIS were outraged. But when it is a hate crime it is easily passed off by some as “kids being kids,” or a “prank.” This is how hate begins. It begins as a cowardly act of hate that people pass off as being a prank and it spreads. Thank you for reporting on this David. I and I know others will not stand for this in our community. Thank you for taking this seriously. I also wish to thank the authorities for taking this seriously.

  15. Frankly

    biddlin: where are YOUR examples that racial hate exists in Davis? Both causes seem as plausible to me. Maybe Mike Nifong set up shop in Davis.

  16. Alan Miller

    My mind went to suicides, not race, when I read the headline. The links are being made by those reading symbolism and timing into the incident. Attention is often the motivation, and Davis again delivers. Good to let other attention starved individuals know where to get the food they crave. A rubber hose would likely stretch and land any user on the ground, and it makes for a lame looking noose. Points to lack of planning, and therefore lack of intent.

  17. biddlin

    Jeff-It’s hard to type on this perditious notebook when I’m laughing so hard . Many of my examples could be found in Vanguard archives starting say, in 2010, when Gov. Schwarzenegger condemned the swastikas on campus and Lamar called for increased penalties for hate crimes .

  18. Anne

    Jeff Boone, Is the question you ask a serious one? The acts of racial hate in Davis show themselves at various times. The very campus where the incident took place was the place where an young Asian student was stabbed many years ago. There are families that have left town due to the fact that they were the target of racial epithets. David has written about these incidents in the past. Messages of hate spray painted on a sidewalk in front of a family’s home. Like this incident it is passed off as a “prank.” Very sad that this happens at all.

  19. Frankly

    Edwin S, I am aware of what Juneteenth is about.

    Anne, I think I see by your comments that you believe pursuing this as a hate crime is righteous and beneficial. You write “this is how hate begins”. Frankly, I am a bit confused on that point. Do you mean that kids displaying a hangmans noose will begin to get them hating? Or, that other people seeing the noose will start them to hate? Secondarily, if you believe one or both of these, then do you think that pursuing this as a hate crime will end or even reduce the amount of hate?

    What I think is that some people have drifted beyond common sense on the usefulness and intent of hate crime laws. Who was materially harmed? It is certainly in poor taste, just as were the nooses displayed by the military-hating and war-hating people in Sacramento. The difference is that the police were not called on to pursue those folks with hate crime laws. Yet, here in our small fair city we have folks that seem they would prefer we find the “perps” and line them up to face a firing squad.

    I wish I had a “hate meter”, because I suspect it might beep louder around those demanding justice be served on those noose-hanging bad people.

  20. biddlin

    BTW-A good amount of my musical instrument business is with high school aged males in Davis, who use language that should embarrass anyone, including racial and gender preference epithets as a matter of course . If the young fellow who recently sold me his strat reads this, I knocked about 50 bucks off per n-word. No kidding .

  21. Edwin S

    [quote]Edwin S, I am aware of what Juneteenth is about.

    Anne,[…] I think I see by your comments that you believe pursuing this as a hate crime is righteous and beneficial. You write “this is how hate begins”. Frankly, I am a bit confused on that point. Do you mean that kids displaying a hangmans noose will begin to get them hating? Or, that other people seeing the noose will start them to hate? [/quote]

    Jeff,
    I can see by your comments you’ve clearly decided it’s by kids and a harmless prank. How lucky we are that it happened at a school filled with teenagers, and not at their homes – I’m sure they’re very appreciative.

    Honestly, I agree that it was probably kids being stupid. But “kids being stupid” aren’t, and haven’t always been, harmless. I am confused though by the hypothetical chain of events you mention. I don’t think the action of them hanging a noose will “begin to get them hating.” It appears to me that they must already possess, and clearly demonstrated, the ignorance and racial insensitivity required to hang a noose on this particular day.

  22. rusty49

    Jeff Boone:
    “the work of some race-obsessed social activist frustrated by the lack of genuine evidence of racial hate.”

    I wouldn’t bet against that.

  23. Frankly

    Bidilin: [i]”Many of my examples could be found in Vanguard archives”[/i]

    Oh, sure you can. David started this blog because of what happened to his wife for chasing racism rainbows. He can spot evidence of racism in every dark corner of the city. I worry about him. He has been clearly focused on sticking the Davis PD with a racist label (although he and the Vanguard has backed down significantly from that initial focus). When I asked for specific examples of racist behavior he had experienced in Davis, David responded with something like: “it is the way people looked at his friends and family members of color.”

    Ignorance, insensitivity, unfamiliarity and bad taste are not signs of racism, and should not be pursued as crimes. Let’s focus on material harm and grow a little thicker skin and greater tolerance for idiots expressing their stupidity and free speech that we find offensive. I have A LOT of practice with this!

    I am a banker. Walking through a park in DC this March where an Occupy group had a sign “Hungry? Eat a Banker”. I laughed. Maybe I should have called the police to demand they pursue the sign-maker with a hate crime.

  24. Frankly

    Bidilin: [i]”BTW-A good amount of my musical instrument business is with high school aged males in Davis, who use language that should embarrass anyone, including racial and gender preference epithets as a matter of course . If the young fellow who recently sold me his strat reads this, I knocked about 50 bucks off per n-word. No kidding.”[/i]

    That strat-selling kid (what model by the way?… I just purchased an American Standard HSS from my good friend and old band mate Ron at Watermelon… have been a Les Paul man for most of my life, but can’t beat the sound of a strat!)… with his N-word mouth will possibly grow to be a successful rap star making coin.

    My son has an entourage of old high school buddies that look like the UN. They love each other… and call each other names that could get them arrested in this town. They largely think the hypersensitive, politically-correct; adults in this town are weird fools. I agree, but remind them that they should be careful and not use their buddy language around those adults because some are crazy and might try to throw them in jail or worse.

  25. Rifkin

    [i]”Sorry, Rich, I removed your picture because I’m eating lunch right now.”[/i]

    No problem. I used to work every summer in Alaska in the fishing industry. But for that I would not have known how ugly many species of cod are. I spent hundreds of hours on fishing boats long-lining cod; and in an earlier carnation, I spent almost as many hours gutting and cleaning them. Lingcods are the worst!

  26. biddlin

    Sorry Jeff, I don’t buy it and I never will . The words we use reflect the way we think . My kids, who have grown up in privileged neighborhoods, gone to inner-city public schools and who are in fact in the entertainment business, use colorful language in dialogue and lyrics, but perhaps because their parents(by the time they got to know us) and other adult role models tended toward the academic types, learned to use language like a scalpel, instead of a hammer and in conversation are, by modern standards, rather bland, I guess .

  27. David M. Greenwald

    [quote]David responded with something like: “it is the way people looked at his friends and family members of color.” [/quote]

    I’m calling you on this. I don’t believe I even remotely said anything like that.

  28. Frankly

    I will have to look it up. It was during a blog on racism in Davis. You were adamant that there is a lot of racism in Davis. Several bloggers asked you for examples where you observed it, and you responded that it was the way people would look at your family member or friends. Or something similar to that.

  29. David M. Greenwald

    I don’t think i would have said it was the way people look at my family members. What I would say is that there is a good deal more racism in this community than people want to admit and that if you want an idea of it, you should talk to people of color who have lived in this community.

  30. David Suder

    [quote]have been a Les Paul man for most of my life, but can’t beat the sound of a strat![/quote]Don’t start bringing Fenderism into this.

  31. biddlin

    I’ve got both, I play my ancient LP standard for jazz and southern blues-rock and my relic-ed strat(69-96 parts and pieces) for country, surf and soul .

  32. hpierce

    So many of those who say they understand what “Juneteenth” is, DON’T.

    [quote]Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was [b]two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official January 1, 1863[/b]. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance. [/quote]

    Emphasis mine (and yes, I knew this before I looked it up, but felt others would not believe me).

  33. Rifkin

    [i]”Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation …”[/i]

    The important point of Juneteenth is NOT that it came 2.5 years after the Emancipation Proclamation. That declaration by Lincoln had no sway in any of the slave states which had ceceded from the Union. The EP was largely just a recognition that black soldiers had become decisive in the Union Army and that the notion of continuing slavery was no longer tenable due to the changed circumstances.

    The key point of Juneteenth (in terms of a date) is that it came 2 months and 10 days after Robt. E. Lee had surrendered* and thus long after most slaves in the East had all been liberated. In other words, well after the Civil War was over, well after the South had fallen, well after slavery was supposed to be over, most black Texans were still enslaved for another 2 months and 10 days.

    *(Lee surrendered on April 12. Lincoln was shot on April 14 and died on April 15.)

    It is true that there still was some fighting after Lee was defeated by Grant. It was not until May 10, 1865 that Jefferson Davis was captured. The last skirmish of the War was the Battle of Palmito Ranch in Texas on May 12 and 13. But still, more than a month after Palmito Ranch, most of the Texas slaves were still in chains.

  34. Rifkin

    Ooops: “… the slave states which had [u]ceceded[/u] from the Union.”

    Make that: seceded.

    Side note: I was once driving on a rural highway through the Deep South (near the Georgia-North Carolina border) with a friend I went to high school with here in Davis. He is a scholar who studies the people and cultures of Appalachia. Some of his ancestors fought on the side of the Union in the Civil War. Others fought for the Confederacy. I was telling him how odd it seemed to me that so many white people in the South seem to have the Civil War on the forefront of their consciousness so long after that conflict was resolved. He agreed, but said the South was changing even in that respect, and that in a generation or two he thought most white Southerners would lose that. As we were talking, we came to a stop where another rural highway intersected ours: off to our right was a large company of bearded men in gray Confederate uniforms and matching kepis and fully outfitted horses. The “soldiers” were all holding 19th Century rifles; some also had swords and handguns. These “soldiers” were re-enactors, all pretending that the Civil War was not yet lost. It was an ironic sight. As we drove away I flipped them off: “Get over it you #$*&ing nutjobs!”

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