Back in May 2013, 59-year-old construction superintendent James Staab, who is white, thought it would be funny to tease a black subcontractor by waving a noose over his head. And, well, you just can’t do that.
A Montgomery County judge has found Staab guilty of disorderly conduct, a summary offense (less than a misdemeanor), and has ordered him to pay a visit to the African American Museum in Philadelphia. He’ll also have to spend four weekends in jail.
On the day of the incident, the victim was delivering appliances to Staab’s construction site in Upper Dublin when Staab held a noose over his head. “Why don’t black people like the noose?” Staab reportedly asked — we’re guessing rhetorically.
“I did not know what he was going to do,” the victim told police. “Historically, a noose is only used for one reason for a black man. People have lost family members because of a noose.”
Staab, who lives in Fishtown, was originally charged with multiple counts of ethnic intimidation, harassment, and disorderly conduct.
It wasn’t Staab’s first run-in with the law. In 2010, he pleaded guilty in a Chester County courtroom to one charge of possession with intent as well as an organized crime charge. According to court records, he was still on probation in Chester County at the time of the noose incident.
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