Police are investigating what appears to be a racist display that reportedly was directed at the African-American workers in the Information Technology (IT) department of Southern California’s Kaiser Hospital Riverside, reports NBC News California.
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The technical team all work in an area that is strictly accessible by employees who work in the department. The grotesque doll — which has a Black painted face, a written racial slur across its chest, and a rope that was tied around its neck — was hanging from a post in a position that mimicked a lynching.
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The mannequin was first spotted by IT worker Xavier Fields who was taken aback by the act of racism. He tells NBC News California, “It’s somebody who works within. It’s a locked area. You don’t go back there,” he said.
Watch news coverage of this unfortunate incident here:
The rest of the department employees were also reportedly stunned by the act. Not sure whether they should contact the Riverside police, they made the unanimous decision to take the doll to their manager and let the hospital decide if police should be notified of the racist incident.
The hospital’s administrators, along with one employee, contacted police and now the incident has been categorized as a hate crime by authorities. The racist act can, according to police, be escalated to a felony after it’s been investigated.
Kaiser administrators issued a statement which read:
We are moving to investigate the matter and will take appropriate action. We do not tolerate any form of discrimination in our workplace and will take all appropriate measures to address the full scope of this situation.
IT employee Tyree Hale is convinced that the doll was meant for him because he is usually the first one to arrive in the morning. Hale, who is Black, was asked by the news outlet, why he didn’t file a police report when he saw the doll and he replied, “Sometimes we just shine it off because we’re just trying to stay working and pay our bills.”