Most folk don’t know the controversial figure has a statue, but the bronze likeness of slain rapper Tupac Shakur was vandalized twice in three days. Apparently the “Free the Jena 6” movement has unkindled racism across the country with the top-selling rapper being the latest target of a hangman’s noose.
This incident appears to be only the latest in a string of acts of intimidation occurring across the country ever since African Americans descended upon Jena, LA en masse to protest racial injustice.
Two of the highest-profile examples were a noose found tied to the office door of a black professor at Columbia University and a noose found stuffed into the sea bag of a black U.S. Coast Guard cadet. Last week, officials at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport reported finding a noose at an airport construction site.
Authorities in Georgia are investigating a pair of incidents that began early Saturday morning when one or more vandals tied a noose around the neck of the bronze likeness of Shakur that stands in the open “peace garden” of the Tupac Amaru Shakur Center for the Arts in Stone Mountain, Geprgia, an Atlanta suburb.
Versa Manos, a spokesman for the center’s foundation told ABC News the incident involved plastered writings with Sept. 11 and Hurricane Katrina references, as well “vague threats” against rappers and record company executives.
A second incident occurred Monday. A security guard called the police to report there was a man on the grounds of the performing arts allegedly banging on the base of the statue. A man was arrested and charged with misdemeanor trespassing and public drunkenness connected to the second incident.
Detectives have been investigating the first incident, as are Department of Homeland Security investigators. Specifically, authorities are looking into the stickers that were plastered on the statue, but local authorities caution that they did not consider the rope tied around the neck of the statue to be a noose but a way to fasten a wooden cross to the likeness.
Any prosecution of the incident, if a perpetrator is found and charged, would have to fall under some other statute because Georgia is one of just a few states that does not have a hate crimes law. The Georgia Supreme Court threw out the state’s hate crime law in 2004 after ruling that it was “unconstitutionally vague.”
Some lawmakers are working on getting a new law passed. They need to get moving quickly, not for Shakur’s sake but for the next potential victim.
Afeni Shakur, mother of Tupac Shakur and the creator of her son’s foundation — which offers training to young people in the arts issued a statement forgiving whoever vandalized the statue.
“Hate comes in all colors and genders and therefore we will use this act of hate and ignorance to bring our community together and pray for the healing of those who harbor such feeling,” Afeni Shakur wrote on the foundation’s website.