Construction operations at the site of former President Barack Obama’s Presidential Center in Chicago have been temporarily suspended following the discovery of an alleged noose, NBC News reported.
A reward of $100,000 has been offered for information about who is responsible for disrupting work at the site where construction began in 2021 on the presidential center that will include a museum, a plaza, a rooftop garden, a new branch of the Chicago Public Library system, and other attractions.
An alleged act of hate
According to local NBC affiliate WMAQ, a rope fashioned into a noose was found in a stairwell at the construction site on Thursday morning and was reported to the police.
Lakeside Alliance, a group of construction companies working collaboratively on the project, said in a statement, “We have zero tolerance for any form of bias or hate on our worksite. Anti-bias training is included in our onboarding process and reiterated during site-wide meetings. We are suspending all operations onsite in order to provide another series of these trainings and conversations for all staff and workers.”
“We are horrified that this would occur on our site and are offering a $100,000 reward to help find the individual or individuals responsible for this shameful act,” the group added. “Lakeside Alliance remains committed to providing a work environment where everyone can feel safe, be their best self, and is treated with dignity and respect.”
Likewise, the Obama Foundation released a statement that said, “This shameless act of cowardice and hate is designed to get attention and divide us. Our priority is protecting the health and safety of our workforce. We have notified authorities who are investigating the incident.”
CBS News reported that the alleged noose was found by workers in what will be the basement and foundation of the Obama Center and alerted management, who in turn halted all work immediately and notified authorities. Police were later seen leaving the site with what appeared to be a noose in a plastic bag.
One of the construction workers at the site, Rico Pineda, told CBS News that the site is secured with fencing and surveillance cameras and an ID is required to enter the site.
CNN reported Friday that while major construction operations were paused at the worksite, some activity was still ongoing and some equipment was being moved around.
“Vehicles will be going in and out of the site today as Lakeside Alliance team members prepare for anti-bias training that will begin next week and to secure the site,” a spokesperson for the group told CNN. “The Chicago Department of Transportation has a significant project that surrounds the site on three sides, and their work is ongoing.”
The spokesperson added that “ancillary construction services required to maintain the safety and security of the site may occur throughout the day.”
The network noted that the Chicago Police Department said they were “aware of this matter and it is under investigation.”