USCG: Noose found in hangar not race hatred


By William F. West
Staff Writer

Friday, April 27, 2018

The U.S. Coast Guard has concluded its probe of a noose found in a hangar at Base Elizabeth City, determining the incident wasn’t evidence of racial hatred but instead was a bad joke, an agency spokeswoman said this week.

The Coast Guard Investigative Service interviewed more than 25 personnel following discovery of the noose at the Coast Guard Aviation Logistics Center's Heavy Maintenance Facility last September, Coast Guard Public Affairs Officer Alana Miller said in an email Thursday.

While investigators couldn’t identify who placed the noose in the hangar, they were able to conclude it wasn’t a racially motivated hate incident, Miller said.  

“No climate issue was uncovered during the investigation and the African-American employee who found the noose relayed to investigators that he believed it to be a joke played, albeit in poor taste,” Miller said.

Capt. Randy Hartnett, commanding officer of the ALC, told The Daily Advance last October that he sought the probe after a civilian employee found something in the Heavy Maintenance Facility hangar on Sept. 25. Harnett declined to be specific about what was found, although several sources told the newspaper it was a noose. 

"It was what we would call a form of harassment, that would lead down the road to what the Coast Guard Civil Rights Manual would classify as a hate incident," Harnett said at the time.

Asked whether the reported harassment was racial in nature, Harnett said, “Absent any other information, we have to assume that it is like racial harassment-motivated.”

But Miller said Thursday the Coast Guard probe concluded there was no racial harassment behind the noose’s placement in the hangar.

“The employees interviewed during the course of the CGIS investigation indicated there are no any pervasive race relations nor climate related issues at the ALC,” she said.

Miller said the Coast Guard takes allegations of hate incidents or crimes seriously. She also said harassment of any kind has no place in the Coast Guard and that the agency is committed to having an inclusive environment where all people are respected and treated with dignity.

The ALC’s mission is to provide material and technical support for Coast Guard air stations and aircraft.