Noose in a Philadelphia tree
Philadelphia police at the noose in a tree on the corner of 18th and Lombard streets.

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Updated, 3:20 p.m.

Philadelphia police are investigating a noose placed in a tree in the tony Rittenhouse neighborhood.

The incident follows an article in the New York Times tracking a rise in reports of nooses being hung around the country, highlighting an incident at the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia.

Per a photo from a Billy Penn tipster, the noose was up in the tree at the corner of 18th and Lombard streets as early as 8:30 a.m. A representative from the 9th District police department told Billy Penn the department was not aware of the noose but would begin looking into the situation. As of just before 10 a.m., the noose was still there, and police had arrived.

A noose hangs on a tree at 18th and Lombard Credit: Anna Orso/Billy Penn

The noose is located on the property of the Pepper Building, an apartment complex, and is across from Penn Medicine Rittenhouse. A hospital administrator said he had seen graffiti in the area but nothing like this.

Nooses have long been considered a symbol of animosity and racism toward African-Americans, bringing to mind lynchings.

The New York Times reported an incident in which a white worker at the Philadelphia Mint left a noose in the work area of a black employee. The white employee was placed on administrative leave.

The story detailed incidents throughout the country, including nooses being hung at the National Mall in Washington DC, at American University and at a high school in North Carolina.

This afternoon, the Mayor’s Office released a statement with the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations urging anyone with information to come forward.

“It’s appalling that in 2017 anyone would commit such a vicious act as hanging a noose, a symbol of racial animus that has a painful history in this country,” the statement read. “These symbols of hate and racially-motivated violence have no place in Philadelphia – our residents and visitors should not have to witness such abhorrent incidents in public or private settings.”

Mark Dent is a reporter/curator at BillyPenn. He previously worked for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, where he covered the Jerry Sandusky scandal, Penn State football and the Penn State administration. His...