Authorities are looking at two nooses found at an Illinois high school over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend as a potential hate crime.
The nooses were hanging from metal bleachers at an outdoor field at the York Community High School, the Elmhurst Police Department said Monday in a statement. A group of adults contacted police after discovering them Sunday while playing a game of pickup soccer.
“The adults removed the ropes themselves and took them away with the intent to give them to school administrators later,” the department said. “School Administrators were contacted on Monday and informed Elmhurst Police Investigators.”
Two messages were placed on the ropes with tape, police said. One read “Let them play!” and the other said “Hear us now! Please!”
Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday created to celebrate the slain civil rights leader’s work to end racial segregation and promote equality for all Americans.
Elmhurst police said the department would increase patrols around the school and neighboring communities. Extra security cameras will be installed at the school, too.
“The City of Elmhurst has no tolerance for symbols of hatred, oppression and violence,” police said. “One of our City’s core services is to provide safety for the Elmhurst residents and the community.”
Neither the York Community High School principal nor the district superintendent immediately responded to a request for comment to NBC News Tuesday.