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Noose found hanging in Lakeland area

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Posted on: June 11, 2024

By SAM GAUNTT

A yellow rope noose was found hanging from a tree near the Paint Branch Trail in Lakeland on June 2, according to Prince George’s County Park Police. 

Park police are investigating the circumstances surrounding a noose found hanging from a tree near the Paint Branch Trail.
PHOTO CREDIT: Hanna Frasure

Officers who responded to the scene took the noose down and submitted it as evidence. The police have not identified a suspect, according to Prince George’s County Park Police Lt. Galvin Savoy. 

Police are not treating the incident as a hate crime, Savoy said, but that may change depending on if they find more evidence relating to the noose.

The noose was found and reported by Hannah Frasure, a resident of the College Park neighborhood of Berwyn, who is also a College Park Here & Now contributor.

Frasure said after she found the noose she immediately left the trail and called the police’s non-emergency line to report it. 

“I just didn’t want to leave it hanging, but I didn’t want to touch it myself in case it had been, like, used for something or was connected to something illegal,” Frasure said. 

She said she was concerned when she found the noose because it could be a public safety hazard. She added that, given its location, it might have been targeted toward the Lakeland community – a historically Black neighborhood in College Park. 

“It being in the Lakeland area, I think there are some obvious connotations that might come up to certain residents because, I think, the noose has been a symbol for racial hatred in the U.S.,” Frasure said.

Maxine Gross, a former College Park City councilmember and founding chairwoman of the Lakeland Community Heritage Project, said the location of the noose “does lead one to believe that it was in some way associated with the Lakeland community.”

“It’s not a commonplace thing for folks to leave nooses hanging around,” Gross said. 

“There are folks in our midst that have less than hospitable thoughts to the concept of racial equity, or even the common humanity of everyone,” she added.

A hangman’s noose is often used as a symbol of racial violence and hate toward Black Americans.

In 2017, a noose was found in a house on Fraternity Row in College Park. 

But according to Savoy, the park system hasn’t received any reports of similar behavior or incidents. 

College Park City Councilmember Susan Whitney, who represents District 2, which encompasses Lakeland, said the report of the noose is “certainly not news anyone wants to hear.” 

“To me, a noose means one of two things: death or intimidation,” Whitney said. “And either way, it’s deeply disturbing. And given this country’s history, coming upon a noose in the woods is chilling, especially so close to a historically Black community.” 

But, she added, police don’t yet know the intentions behind the noose.  

Gross said “every African American” is aware that America can be an inhospitable place for them. 

“It is concerning that it’s becoming somewhat acceptable for people to act upon those negative feelings,” she said. 

“Promote the good,” Gross said. “Be humane to one another.”

In a press release from the Prince George’s County Division of the Maryland-National Capital Park Police on June 9, the police are encouraging anyone with information about the noose to contact the Prince George’s Park Police Crime Tips by clicking here. (PGPPCrimeTips @ mncppc.org)

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