Local News

Noose found at Rocky Mount park where Confederate monument is coming down

Posted June 30, 2020 12:53 p.m. EDT
Updated June 30, 2020 7:03 p.m. EDT

— A noose was found hanging from a downed tree branch in Rocky Mount's Battle Park on Monday, near where crews were dismantling a Confederate monument.

Local police took possession of the noose and are investigating.

A photo circulated on social media shows a light-colored rope, tied into the shape of a noose and hanging in a wooded area.

"I don’t know if it was planted there or somebody planted it to cause commotion on the other side," resident William Manley said. "I don’t know what their motive was, but it wasn’t a good motive."

Regardless of whether the noose was hung as a hoax or as intimidation, Mayor Sandy Roberson said the person responsible should be prosecuted.

City crews began the process of removing a Confederate monument from Battle Park on Monday and expect to complete the project on Wednesday.

The Rocky Mount City Council voted, 7-1 on June 8 to remove the marker, which has stood in the park since 1917.

Even people who oppose the monument’s removal said Tuesday that they are troubled by the noose.

“They want to keep fanning the flames of something that needs to die down," resident Donna Chappell said. "We all need to come together and learn to live together and respect each other."

Roberson said the monument has long been a grievance among Black residents, who make up a majority of Rocky Mount's population.

"It’s really sad. I know a lot of people that are very upset over it," Chappell said of the monument's removal. "I’m sad about it. I’m not going to go all to pieces because times are changing.”

"There’s just so many people that it bothers. It brings back painful memories," Manley said, adding that he hopes people will focus on progress and less on division.

"I do want everything to be peaceful coming down so we can start to heal around here," he said. "This is really tearing this city apart."

Roberson said the monument would be placed in a warehouse until a suitable location can be found, likely on private property.