A hate crime investigation is underway in a Chicago suburb after two nooses were found at a high school football field.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, nooses were found hanging from bleachers at York Community High School’s football field by a group of people playing a pickup soccer game. The school is located in Elmhurst, a western suburb of Chicago.
Messages were attached to the tape used to hang the nooses, which were made of rope. One message read “Let them play!” and the other read “Hear us now! Please!” police said.
“The City of Elmhurst has no tolerance for symbols of hatred, oppression and violence,” Elmhurst Police Chief Michael Ruth said in a statement.
Police presence around the school and its surrounding area has been increased since the nooses were found. The school has also extra security cameras.
The incident comes on the heels of Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s latest COVID-19 announcement, which left the prospects of a high school football and basketball season in the state bleak. High-risk sports will not be allowed to play games in Tier 2 of Illinois’ COVID-19 plan, or when the state reaches Tier 1. Basketball and football are both listed as high-risk sports, making it unlikely they get played anytime soon — although football seems to have a slightly better chance of having a season than basketball.
“Deputy Governor Ruiz was not clear today about what getting to Phase 4 would mean for the high-risk sports,” IHSA executive director Craig Anderson said, per the Sun-Times. “He indicated that there could be a potential differentiation for football versus basketball because football is outdoors. The new All Sports Policy permitting an adjustment in playing levels going from Tier 2 to Tier 1 makes me think that a move to Phase 4 could create another adjustment, but IDPH or the Governor’s office would need to confirm that.”