The FBI is investigating after motorists in an Alabama county called authorities to report that someone had put a burning cross on an overpass.
The incident occurred Thursday night in Macon County, Georgia, which is home to historically black Tuskegee University and has a population that is more than 80% African American. The cross was discovered around 9:30 p.m. atop a bridge over Interstate Highway 85. Burning crosses are associated with the Ku Klux Klan and racism in the United States.
Macon County Sheriff Andre Brunson told the Opelika-Auburn News that motorists saw the cross begin to fall onto the overpass railing and attempted to move the smoldering object away from the overpass. Brunson said investigators are working to bring whoever was behind the racist display to justice.
“We just can’t let people get away doing that,” Brunson said. “That is something to strike fear in people’s hearts, and we’re not going to let people make them afraid. We need to bring that person to justice.”
The burning cross comes as the country sees mass protests calling attention to racial injustice and police brutality in the U.S. The demonstrations began after George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was violently restrained by police officers in Minnesota and later died. Footage showed Floyd begging for his life as an officer dug his knee into his neck for nearly nine minutes.
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