As they investigate a hangman’s noose left at the entrance to the Orange County Labor Federation building Friday morning, police in Orange are focusing on videotape from a nearby camera at the Park Royale mobile home park.
The noose was made of thick rope more than one hundred feet long and draped over the roof of the federation’s building.
The entrance to the mobile home park is directly across from the federation’s offices. Police said Friday they would examine the videotape.
Police told labor representatives that they were investigating the incident as a hate crime. The video evidence might be critical, police said.
Teamsters and trash hauling company officials were in the building past midnight negotiating new labor contracts. Later when labor federation employees arrived at the office at 8:30 a.m., they were confronted by the noose.
Police said they’re hoping the camera, which may have been pointed at the entrance of the labor federation building, will show license plates or other information during a time when little traffic was moving on the street, police said.
Tefere Gebre, executive director of the labor federation, said it was difficult to discern a motive for the act. He said he saw it as “a stupid thing to do, the act of a mindless person.”
“It’s disgusting,” added Gebre, who is an Ethiopian immigrant. “As an African-American man, it has implications.”
He didn’t discount that the noose could also be a message from ultraconservative elements in Orange County.
“If they think this kind of thing would intimidate working families, they have another think coming. This is not going to distract us.”
— NORBERTO SANTANA JR.