EDMONDS — A noose found by two black workers at a construction site here is being investigated by police and condemned by city officials.
The incident occurred Oct. 26 on a construction site at 50 Pine St. near the Point Edwards condominiums.
The workers found a noose tied over a beam, said Sgt. Shane Hawley, a spokesman for the Edmonds Police Department.
Police were notified of the incident on Nov. 3 and it remains under investigation. The department has notified the FBI, “something we do when there are hate crimes,” Hawley said.
“This is the worst thing that anyone should have to encounter in their work place,” he said.
Karen Dove, executive director of Apprenticeship and Non-Traditional Employment for Women, notified the city about the issue.
The workers, a man and a woman, walked off the work site the day they saw the noose, she said.
They have sought legal advice and plan to file a complaint with the police department, Dove said.
“We’re trying to make sure they are protected and taken care of,” she said.
Her organization assists women, people of color, and other disadvantaged workers get training in construction trades.
Dove said she’s been to the Edmonds construction site and believes that the noose was left by someone who works there. “It seems it was during the day when our workers were there,” Dove said.
The site is fenced, limiting access. In the evening, there is a security guard and the site has surveillance cameras, she said.
Hawley said the police department doesn’t yet have any suspects in the case. “That’s something our detectives will have to figure out,” he said.
A statement from the contractor, Venture General Contracting in Seattle, said the company strictly prohibits workplace harassment and racial intolerance “and in no way condones this offensive action.”
The company said signs will be posted on the site that clearly state its non-discrimination policy.
Employees received non-discrimination training earlier this year and had an additional session on Monday.
Mayor Dave Earling called the incident “abhorrent, offensive, and does not meet the expectations of our community.”
Earling said he also believes that the noose was left by someone at the worksite and hopes the contractor will take appropriate steps to rectify the situation.
City Council member Dave Teitzel was among the city officials who responded to several emails sent by Dove about the noose.
“It’s a shocking incident to us here in Edmonds,” he said. “We pride ourselves on being an open, inclusive, and accepting community.”
Edmonds was hit earlier this year by somebody painting swastikas on parked cars. A man was arrested in July in connection with one of the incidents.
Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; firstname.lastname@example.org.