New Jersey authorities are looking for a woman who was caught on video hanging nooses next to a campaign sign in support of a Black political candidate.
The Middle Township Police Department said it received a report about three stuffed animals hanging from ropes above a sign supporting congressional candidate Tim Alexander on election day.
Later, they found video footage of a white woman with blond hair hanging the stuffed animals from a tree.
The police department and the county prosecutor have launched a hate crime investigation into the incident.
Alexander, who lost his challenge against incumbent U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew on Tuesday, said he is “disgusted” by the display.
“It was sickening. It really was. It was really disgusting,” Alexander told NBC10. “It really spoke to what I have been talking about on the campaign trail, and that is that we have too much division. We have too much tribalism. We have this sense of us against them.”
Authorities have released stills of the video footage and are asking anyone with information to come forward. The woman was driving a dark-colored Buick with chrome trim and tinted windows. She parked in the area where the stuffed animals were hung.
Nearly 11 percent of Middle Township’s 20,716 residents are Black, U.S. Census data shows.
Alexander told ABC 7 that community leaders should be responsible for extreme instances of hate. His opponent and other political leaders have condemned the woman’s actions.
“The incident that took place is completely unacceptable behavior. There is no place for hate in our country, especially in South Jersey,” Drew told ABC 7. “I do want accountability, and quite honestly at some point I just want the person to stand up in court, under oath, and say I did this, and this is why I did it.”
Middle Township Mayor Tim Donohue also took to Facebook to denounce the display.
“This is not who we are in Middle Township. We stand united against all forms of racism, hate, threats and intimidation,” he wrote. “If this investigation proves charges are warranted, the perpetrator(s) will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Alexander said the woman could have spoken to him in person if she had an issue instead of resorting to the racist display.
“You could’ve easily come up to me and said, ‘Here are my concerns,’ ” he said. “But instead you wanted to send out this hateful, historically hateful, historically intimidating statement by doing these actions.”