2008-07-11 / Top Stories

Another Bad Noose Day For Parks

By Howard Schwach

The Independence Day weekend was reportedly shattered for one Hispanic Department of Parks and Recreation worker when he reported to his place of employment on July 3 and found a noose with an American flag in its center hanging on a window sill next to his locker.

Police sources say that Eugenio Diaz, a maintenance worker for the city agency, walked into the locker room at 360 Beach 75 Street at about 1:15 p.m. on Thursday and discovered the noose holding an American flag that was previously taped to his locker door.

Police say that approximately 15 workers have access to the locker room and most of them were interviewed after the noose was found, but all of them stated that they had no idea how it had gotten there.

Diaz reportedly told police that he had no problems with his supervisors or his co-workers.

This is the second incident in which a noose was found in a Rockaway Parks Department facility within the last year.

On October 27, 2007, two black workers found nooses inside their lockers in a boardwalk locker room at 86- 01 Shore Front Parkway.

That case was never solved.

The two were then the only black supervisors at the Rockaway Beach Maintenance and Operations Center.

At the time, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe issued a statement that read, "The targeting of individuals with symbols of hate will not be tolerated."

On Tuesday, Trish Bertuccio, a spokesperson for the agency said only, "we are referring all inquiries about the incident to the NYPD."

Under the new state Hate Crimes Guidelines, recently passed by the State Legislature, the making and displaying of a noose is not in itself a crime, a police source told The Wave.

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