The U.S. Justice Department said on Tuesday it found that no federal crime was committed after a noose was found in the garage of Bubba Wallace, the only Black driver in NASCAR’s top series.
“After a thorough review of the facts and evidence surrounding this event, we have concluded that no federal crime was committed,” the department and FBI said in a statement.
There was evidence the noose had been in garage No. 4 at the Talladega Superspeedway since October 2019, it said.
“Although the noose is now known to have been in garage number 4 in 2019, nobody could have known Mr. Wallace would be assigned to garage number 4 last week,” the statement said.
The incident rocked NASCAR and took on added significance at a time of heightened tension over racism in the United States, as the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Northern District of Alabama confirmed that they, the FBI and the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division were looking into the matter.
In the wake of the nationwide protests against racism and police brutality, NASCAR announced this month that Confederate flags would be prohibited from all of its events and properties.
Wallace was one of the loudest voices in the push for the banning of Confederate flags, formerly a common sight at NASCAR events.
The hangman’s noose is connected to lynching in the United States and is symbol of violence and racism against African Americans.
(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Bill Berkrot)
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