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UVa police working with FBI to solve recent hate crime

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MIKE KROPF, THE DAILY PROGRESS A crowd of about 30 students and activists gather by a statue of Homer at UVa after a noose was placed on the statue. Monday, Sept. 12, 2022.

The University of Virginia Police Department (UPD) has shared the first update on its investigation into the hate crime that took place on Grounds on Sept. 7, revealing that the suspect who hung a noose on the Homer statue on the south Lawn left behind a note.

“No substantive note that reflected any threats, motive, or information that warranted notification to our community,” a statement from UPD reads. “We are in the process of evaluating items that were left behind to determine what value they have with respect to our investigation.”

The update from UPD was the first since last week, when it released surveillance video of the suspect.

At about 11:15 p.m. on Sept. 7, the unidentified male hung the noose on the Homer statue, a well known landmark on Grounds. The noose remained on the statue until about 4:20 a.m. Sept. 8, when a UVa security officer noticed it.

One day later, UPD released images from surveillance video of the white male suspect for community assistance to identify them. The department is still searching for the suspect.

According to one UPD official, police departments rarely, if ever, release all of the information or evidence that they have on a case as a tactic they use while sorting through tips from the community. Tips with unreleased information quickly turn into leads for police.

On Sept. 15, the day before UPD released the update, members of the UVa community flooded social platforms like Twitter and Yik Yak with speculation about additional evidence from the incident that has not yet been released to the public.

“Students are just really confused because we don’t know what was in that letter and whether it was helpful to the investigation,” said Cecilia Cain, 2022-23 UVa Student Council President.

The statement also explains that UPD has teamed up with “local FBI partners to enhance the video and develop information” about the hate crime.

According to the Noose Hate Crime Act of 2011, displaying nooses in public with intent to harass or intimidate a person because of that person’s race, color, religion, or national origin is federal crime punishable by fine or more than two years in prison.

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