Compiled by MCJ Editorial Staff
Calling the placement of the ultimate symbol of racist terrorism to Black Americans a “crime of hate,” the Shaws want answers as to who hung the noose from a tree between their and the Asian family’s residences on West Bluemound Road.
The noose was discovered a week ago by Rev. Shaw’s son, Richard, Jr. while walking with a friend near his parent’s home. In shocked disbelief, the young Shaw called his father, who immediately came home and took a photo of the incredible image of racism and intimidation.
“It was a world of emotion, I didn’t know how to feel,” said the younger Shaw during a news conference held Monday at St. Matthews with his father and Milwaukee Attorney and activist Roy Evans, who is representing the family.
“I never in my life thought I would see something like that,” the 24-year-old Shaw said.
“That noose became personal to us because we know the historical context of a noose,” said Rev. Shaw.
The family is outraged and fearful after the racist, unlawful and cowardly act of intimidation, viewing it as an act of terrorism.
Brookfield police took the noose down from the tree as part of the investigation. The noose photo by Rev. Shaw has been posted on social media and has attracted local, national and some international attention.
Last week Monday, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported a Brookfield police captain told reporters the noose was found in front of the Asian family’s home, not in front of the Shaw’s as was previously reported.
The captain noted a member of the Asian family had previously died by suicide by hanging. Police were not immediately able to confirm if the noose was directed at a specific family or not.
However, Evans in a recent interview with the Community Journal, said the noose was discovered by Shaw Jr. hanging from a tree between the Shaw and Asian family’s respective homes. The Asian family was reportedly out of town at the time of the noose discovery.
Evans said the Shaws strongly believe the noose was put there to intimidate them. The Shaw family has lived in their Brookfield neighborhood for over three years and have been the only family of color in the neighborhood.
The Asian family had moved in next to the Shaws only recently, and both families feel targeted by the racist act. Evans said the police captain’s comments were meant to deflect from the seriousness of the incident in the growing suburban community west of Milwaukee.
“The (noose) was aimed at an African American family (the Shaws),” Evans said. “A false narrative was put in the news report to reduce the gravity of the situation.”
Upon learning of the Journal Sentinel report, Evans and Rev. Shaw met with Brookfield Mayor Steve Ponto and Brookfield Police Chief Daniel Tushaus to tell them the Shaws feel the incident was a hate crime directed at them. Evans said after the meeting, he, Rev. Shaw, and Shaw, Jr. held the St. Matthew news conference to set the record straight as to what happened.
To African Americans the image of a noose hanging from a tree symbolizes a long historic struggle against the racist brutality endured by countless numbers of innocent Black people who were intimidated and terrorized by lynchings associated with hate and slavery.
“The fear and trauma caused by this act is a direct form of violence that should not go unrecognized or unpunished for what it was intended to accomplish,” said Evans in a press statement.
“Hatred and bigotry of any kind should not be tolerated. The St. Matthew (church) family would be just as outraged at the dehumanizing vandalism of a swastika defacing Brookfield’s Chabad Synagogue or Sikh Temple if any such incident were to occur.
“Racism and bigotry has no place in race, religion or any other form in our American culture,” stated Evans. Recently released national data shows there has been a 30% increase in race-based hate crimes and religious intimidation.
Evans said it’s unfortunate the nation’s current climate of tolerance is undermined by “a racist, xenophobic leadership that supports and promotes acts of intimidation and intolerance.”
The attorney said the family is calling on Brookfield police to conduct a complete and thorough investigation of the incident by using all legal means available to locate, identify and bring the perpetrator(s) of this act of terror to justice.
“No unlawful acts of race or religious based threats of harm or intimidation should be and will not be tolerated.”
Brookfield police say they take this incident very seriously and detectives are pursuing all leads and are open-minded to all potential motives.—Sources for this article:CBS58.com and jsonline.com