Confessions by two boys solved the mystery behind a Black doll found Thursday hanging from a noose at a Philadelphia playground, which was once an African-American burial site.
Two preteens, one Black and the other White, claimed on Thursday night that it was not a hate crime but a prank intended to scare people, the Associated Press reported.
Discovery of the doll prompted a police investigation and drew quick condemnation from Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and other city officials, as well as Black community leaders.
“For our people, there was a time when they weren’t baby dolls, but they were real people and real bodies. That didn’t stop us and this won’t either,” said the Rev. Mark Kelly Tyler, Mother Bethel AME’s senior pastor, in a Facebook live video before the boys came forward.
The boys made their initial confession to a reporter and photojournalist at the scene, NBC News affiliate WCAU-TV reported.
Tyler spoke privately with the boys to get to the bottom of what happened. They claimed to have found the doll and the noose, and thought it would be fun to scare people.
“They had no idea about the historical legacy of lynching, what that image would do, the terror that it put into people,” Tyler stated, according to the TV station.
The pastor praised the boys for confessing. “I can’t say enough about these kids who were not compelled to come by their parents, their parents didn’t force them, but who came on their own and told the truth when they realized this was a bigger story than they thought,” Tyler said.
Still, the confession raised eyebrows and created more questions, such as why a hangman’s noose was laying abound. Some people didn’t know whether to be relieved or concerned by the confession.