BERKELEY (CBS/AP) -- Three cardboard cutouts of black men were found hanging by nooses on the Berkeley campus of the University of California.
School spokeswoman Amy Hamaoui said police are trying to determine who hanged the effigies that were found at two prominent campus locations Saturday morning. The spokeswoman said the effigies appear to be connected to a noon-time demonstration nearby planned to coincide with a national protest against police brutality dubbed "#blacklivesmatters." The effigies appear to be life-size photos of lynching victims.
According to another UC spokesperson Claire Holmes, UC police recieved a cal around 9:10 this morning indicating 2 effigies on campus at Sather Gate. A third was reported at Capanile Tower.
The effigies had names of actual past lynching victims and the dates of their death. At least one effigy had "I Can't Breathe" printed on the front. Hamaoui said it's unclear whether protest organizers or someone else hanged the effigies. Two were removed by police and a student took down the third.
"Clearly those are words that are being used as part of the protest today against police violence," Holmes said. "But this could also potentially have been racially motivated."
Hundreds of demonstrators met Saturday afternoon in Berkeley and marched to Oakland to join the "Millions March," part of a series of protests across the nation denouncing police brutality.
There was also a "Ferguson2Cal" rally scheduled for noon Saturday in Berkeley at Bancroft Way and Telegraph Avenue near the UC Berkeley campus, according to community organizers.
Holmes said the police are trying to find out who put the effigies on campus and why. If the effigies were racially motivated, Holmes said the police would seek criminal charges.
"We are in dialogue with students who are upset and want to have a climate on the campus where everybody feels safe and are able to be part of the community," Holmes said. "If it was racially motivated, this is not tolerable on."
The vice chancellor of student affairs will be working with students over the coming week to create opportunities to process the incident, Holmes said.
"We are encouraging anyone with information about this to come forward to the UC police department," Holmes said.
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