FBI investigating D.C. banana incident as a hate crime

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - The FBI is now investigating a racist incident, involving bananas hanging from a string in the shape of nooses,  on American University's campus as a hate crime. 

RELATED: Surveillance video released in racist incident on AU campus

The bananas were found in three locations on Monday and were marked with the letters AKA, according to the university. AKA are the letters of Alpha Kappa Alpha, which is a historically black female sorority. 

FBI is only offering federal resources for now. If investigation reveals that federal laws were broken, then charges will be filed.

Surveillance video was released on Tuesday by AU Police Department of suspect believed to be connected to the incident. 

The president of American University sent out the following message:

The crude and racially insensitive act of bigotry reported this morning is under investigation by AU Campus Police with assistance from the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and other AU offices and senior officials.

We strongly condemn what happened; will do all that we can to find those responsible; and ask that anyone who may know of those involved to please step forward and contact Public Safety at 202-885-2527 or the AUPD Tips Site.

We will alert the university community of the investigation's findings and next steps and will respond as swiftly and strongly as possible.

Racially charged acts of bigotry are done to instill fear and inflict pain in our community—especially at stressful times, such as at the end of the term.

I regret this happened, apologize to everyone offended, and state emphatically that this incident does not reflect what American University truly is. While this incident targeted AU's chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, and occurred after the first black woman and AKA member was sworn in as the Student Government president—our entire university community has been adversely affected by this cowardly, despicable act.

There will be a campus community meeting on Tuesday, May 2 to discuss the incident at 12 noon in Kay Chapel. Members of the President's Council on Diversity and Inclusion (PCDI) will be in attendance. PCDI will also host one-on-one drop in conversations at 6 p.m. at a table in McDowell Hall—as part of the PCDI Listens series.

Know that American University remains committed to principles of diversity, inclusion, common courtesy, and human dignity, and acts of bigotry only strengthen our resolve. Anyone who does not feel similarly does not belong here.

Anyone with information about this incident is being asked to call 202.885.2527.

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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