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Rope found hanging in tree in Rohnert Park determined to be makeshift swing

A rope hanging from a tree in Rohnert Park that sparked public concern of a possible hate crime was determined to be a makeshift swing that children in the area had set up, authorities said.

At 11:30 a.m. Thursday, the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety received a report of a rope with a noose hanging in a tree near a condominium complex on Civic Center Drive, said Deputy Chief Aaron Johnson. The 6-foot rope was about 12 feet up in the air, wrapped around a small branch. It had a 6-8 inch loop at the end of it. There were also several wooden stumps on the ground near the tree.

When officers arrived, they cut the rope down and collected it as evidence. They interviewed some residents in the area, but none had seen anything suspicious. Later that evening, officers spoke with the property manager, who said that some children had set the rope up months ago to swing from the tree. The rope was tied in a fixed knot like a handle, rather than like a noose, Johnson said. The children used the wooden stumps near the tree as stools.

The calls about the rope came the same week that five nooses were found hanging from trees near Lake Merritt. A community member came forward and said he placed the ropes in the trees to use in exercises, but Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf announced a hate crime investigation into that incident. On Thursday, an Oakland resident found some material stuffed in the shape of a body hanging from a noose in a tree, also near Lake Merritt.

Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety Chief Tim Mattos emphasized in a message to the community that the department “does not tolerate hate crimes, threats, or disparate treatment of anyone.”

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