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WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2007
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Anniston noose probe: No racial intent

ANNISTON (AP) — An investigation into a noose that was found at the Anniston Depot has ended and racial intent does not seem to be involved, base officials said Tuesday.

A statement released by the depot said there are no direct witnesses regarding the placement of the piece of rope that was tied in a noose fashion and found on a utility pole Oct. 2.

Joan Gustafson, a spokeswoman at the installation said the rope looked to be a tie-down used to secure tarps covering cargo in the back of trucks coming onto the base.

"They talked to a lot of people," Gustafson said of investigators. "We're surmising it came from a vehicle that came in, it fell down and someone walking by just picked it up and stuck it on the nail (on the pole)."

"All indications are it was not done for any malicious purpose or has racial overtones," she said.

The depot's statement said during the investigation numerous in-bound M1 tanks with tarp tie-downs resembling the black rope were found and many had slip-knots resembling nooses at the working ends. Soldiers use the slip knot method as a way to quickly tie-down and release the tarps.

Nooses have been found at several locations nationwide in the weeks since a mass protest in Jena, La. Three white students who hung nooses from a tree outside Jena High School were not prosecuted criminally, but authorities filed charges against six black youths accused of beating a white teen.

Depot officials said they along with industry partners and the American Federation of Government Employees are reiterating that "this element used as a threatening or intimidating gesture will not be tolerated," even though there doesn't appear to be a racial motive.

The depot commander, Col. Sherry B. Keller, has made it clear that there is a "not here, not now, not ever" approach to acts of threat or intimidation.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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