Edmonds police said Tuesday they are investigating an incident, reported in our earlier story here, at the Point Edwards Building 10 construction site, where two African American workers said they found a noose when they arrived for work in late October.
According to Edmonds police spokesman Sgt. Shane Hawley, the Oct. 26 incident was reported to police Nov. 3 via a phone call from a representative of Seattle-based Venture General Contracting, the company managing construction for the 68-unit building on the Point Edwards site at 50 Pine St.
“The Edmonds Police Department has opened an investigation into the incident,” Hawley said. “We are actively working to reach the two workers and obtain statements.” The case has been assigned to the department’s detective unit, and the FBI has also been notified, Hawley added.
Details of the incident unfolded in an email exchange Nov. 5 between Karen Dove, Executive Director of Apprenticeship and Non-Traditional Employment for Women (ANEW) and Edmonds City Councilmember Dave Teitzel.
Dove cited an account from the Seattle Vocational Institute, which placed one of the workers on the job site at 50 Pine St. through its Pre-Apprentice Construction Training (PACT) program. According to the account, the worker came to the job site — later identified as the Building 10 multifamily housing project at Point Edwards — to find a noose “hanging in a spot designed for him to see it.”
The student and another African American co-worker who saw the noose informed the job site foreman about the problem, but he reportedly “brushed it off” with a comment about “how the knot wasn’t tied correctly,” Dove said. Both workers then walked off the site, and one subsequently resigned his position after taking photographs documenting the incident.
A spokesperson for Venture General Contracting said Monday that while the actual perpetrators have yet to be identified, “disciplinary action has been taken” against the foreman to whom the incident was reported. She also said that Venture had filed a report with Edmonds police.
The Edmonds Diversity Commission also weighed in on the issue Tuesday, posting the following statement on the City of Edmonds Facebook page:
“The Edmonds Diversity Commission wishes to express its deep concern over the recent unfortunate incident related to the noose left hanging at an Edmonds construction site and found by African American construction workers. In response to this incident, the Edmonds Diversity Commission encourages Edmonds residents to engage in reflection and/or dialogue with friends, family and neighbors about the incident, its potential causes and ramifications. As for the commission, our mission and work plan are dedicated to exploring and addressing the environment and conditions in Edmonds that may lead to incidents of discrimination and/or exclusion. Consequently, the commission also invites the public to attend its meetings to share thoughts and comments on this incident or other related issues. A public comment period is provided at each of the Commission meetings, which are held on the first Wednesdays of every month at 6pm at the Edmonds Senior Center or Edmonds Public Works Building (7110 210th St. S.W.), alternating every month (check city website). By coming together, we hope to make hurtful incidents such as this serve as a source of strength and cohesion in our community.”
— By Teresa Wippel