An African-American man who found a noose and white supremacist flag hanging near his home this week says the act of intimidation isn’t enough to send him packing.
“I’m not running. I’m fine,” 42-year-old Ernest Beal told the Daily News Journal. “Moving to Murfreesboro was the best decision I made for my family [and] my children.”
It was this past Saturday while returning home from church that Beal said he noticed a few items hanging from the fence near the home he rents with his family. Upon taking a closer look, the Tennessee man said he realized the items were actually a noose, and a black flag emblazoned with the notorious Celtic cross, a symbol often touted by white nationalists.
The items were taken into custody by a local officer on patrol, the newspaper reported, and a police report was filed, listing the racist paraphernalia as found property.
“I just want everyone to see what’s actually going on,” Beal said. “… While we think this is happening somewhere else, it’s actually here. The only statement this made was to remind me that there’s still a lot of stupidity in the world.”
The father of two posted a photo of the items to his Facebook page, an action he said he now regrets because he was quick to anger. He told the Daily News Journal he thinks this was just an isolated incident in the diverse community, adding that neighbors have since rallied around him and his family.
The Beals hosted an “ugly Christmas sweater” party the night he and his sons discovered the items, prompting neighbors who’d assumed the party guests were there to offer their support to knock on the door and do the same.
“They came to the door to say, ‘We want to be involved,’ ” Beal said. “It meant a lot. It was a lot of different neighbors that I’d waved to, we’re looking out for each other. It’s a part of us coming together.”
In the wake of the incident, the Tennessee man said he plans on installing more lighting and cameras around his home, and will make sure he and his family stay alert. An officer with the local police department instructed residents to dial 911 if they notice suspicious persons or activities in the area.
Murfreesboro Police is still investigating.