FBI investigating after bananas on nooses found on campus

WASHINGTON -- CBS News has confirmed that the FBI is investigating an incident on American University's campus -- in which bananas were found hanging from noose-shaped strings -- as a hate crime, justice and homeland security correspondent Jeff Pegues reports.

The bananas were found early Monday in three locations: at a shuttle bus stop, in front of a dining center and near another building. Officials at the university, which is in Washington, D.C., said in an email to students, faculty and staff that the bananas were marked with the letters AKA. The letters are those of the predominantly black Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. 

Campus police said Tuesday that a $1,000 reward is being offered "for information leading to positive suspect identification."

"This individual is a person of interest in a racially motivated hate crime targeting Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc. (AKA) sorority," American University Police Department said in a release, alongside a photo.

The department said the subject was wearing a black long sleeve shirt and black pants and may have worn a mask or hat. It also released two videos of the suspect, posting them on YouTube.

 

American University President Neil Kerwin previously said in a memorandum that "the crude and racially insensitive act of bigotry reported" Monday morning was being investigated by the university's Campus Police with help from the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department and other university offices and senior officials.

"We strongly condemn what happened," he said.

According to American University's student newspaper, The Eagle, the incident coincided with Taylor Dumpson's first day as president of American University Student Government. Dumpson is the first black woman president of the Student Government.

She said in a statement that the university community must show that bigotry, hate and racism won't be tolerated.

Fanta Aw, the university's interim vice president of campus life, said, "These racist, hateful messages have no place in our community." 

© 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.


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