BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — Artists claimed responsibility for hanging three cardboard images of black lynching victims at a Northern California university, leading campus authorities to say Monday they no longer view the life-size effigies as a hate crime.
A note claiming responsibility for the images was pinned to a bulletin board Sunday at the University of California, Berkeley. The note says a "Bay Area collective of queer, black and PoC (people of color) artists" hanged the images on campus ahead of a nearby protest of police brutality on Saturday.
The note apologized to African-Americans who were upset by the images, saying the effigies were meant to provoke thought about a systemic history of violence against blacks. The note said that the hanging of the effigies wasn't meant to be racist and that the artists wish to remain unnamed.
"We choose to remain anonymous because this is not about us as artists, but about the growing movement to address these pervasive wrongs," the note said.
Campus spokeswoman Claire Holmes said police believe the note is credible and are no longer investigating the incident as a hate crime.
The images ignited debate over the weekend between those who viewed the images as protest art and others who saw the effigies as tasteless and racist regardless of motive.
Pablo Gonzalez, a Chicano studies teacher at Berkeley, posted an image of the note Sunday on Twitter. Gonzalez said a student sent him an image of the note after spotting it on a campus bulletin board Sunday evening.