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U.S. Mint Employee on Leave After Placing Noose in Colleague’s Workspace

A U.S. Treasury spokesperson said the department has "absolutely zero tolerance" for the incident reported at the Philadelphia facility.
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A white employee at the U.S. Mint facility in Philadelphia has been placed on administrative leave after security footage captured the employee placing a hangman’s noose in a black colleague’s workspace last week.

Barry Nickson, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 1023, told WHYY that it’s unclear “if the intent was for the [coworker] to see it, or for everyone to see it, or if it was a prank,” but that “a lot of employees [at the mint] were highly disturbed by what they witnessed.”

AFGE represents roughly 400 workers at the facility, which is located at 151 North Independence Mall East in Old City. The mint – the country’s first – produces circulating and uncirculated coins and medals.

According to the New York Times, the incident occurred around 3 p.m. on June 28th, when the worker fashioned a noose out of rope typically used to tie up coin bags and left it in the colleague’s workspace.

U.S. Treasury Department officials have launched an internal investigation into the incident. A U.S. Treasury spokesperson offered the following statement:

“We have absolutely zero tolerance for the kind of misconduct reported at the Mint. Secretary [Steven] Mnuchin has directed that this matter be handled swiftly and seriously. The investigation is moving ahead quickly. Treasury’s employees are our best asset, and we strive every day for a workplace environment that is welcoming and safe for all.”

Nickson told WHYY that senior management at the facility has planned mandatory town halls to address the incident. The meetings will reportedly start next week.

In recent months, the Southern Poverty Law Center has documented an uptick in hate crimes involving the hangman’s noose, a longtime symbol of racism and violence against African Americans.

Follow @ClaireSasko on Twitter.