UPDATE: May 27, 2021: Amazon shut down its Windsor, Connecticut, fulfillment center construction site for the second time this month on Wednesday, after an eighth rope tied like a noose was found.
In an emailed statement, Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel said the item was found under some electrical materials, and that the site was shut down again to allow the FBI and local police to continue investigating the incidents.
"We will continue to work with all levels of law enforcement as well as our development partners, to hold the perpetrators accountable and ensure that all members of our community feel valued, respected and safe," Nantel said.
Community leaders have called for the perpetrator to be brought to justice.
"This is a serious, white supremacist message being sent to our entire community. It’s sick. It’s unacceptable. We demand better," Scot X. Esdaile, president of the Connecticut NAACP, told the Hartford Courant newspaper.
The most recent shutdown of the 3.6-million-square-foot jobsite came just a day after the New York Post reported construction had resumed after a shutdown ordered last week due to the discovery of a seventh noose.
UPDATE: May 21, 2021: An Amazon distribution center construction site has been shuttered until next week, following the discovery of a seventh suspicious rope on the property, and the reward for identifying whoever is behind the appearance of the hate symbols increased to $100,000.
Windsor, Connecticut, police confirmed the discovery Wednesday of a length of rope with a loop at the end of it hanging over a beam, marking the seventh length of rope that could be construed as a noose found at the site since April 27.
Amazon confirmed that the reward in the case, which started at $5,000, has now reached six figures, and that the site, which is run by New Jersey-based general contractor RC Andersen, would remain closed until at least Monday.
"We continue to be deeply disturbed by the incidents happening at the construction site in Windsor and have ordered it shut down until necessary security measures can be put in place," said Kelly Nantel, an Amazon spokesperson, in an email to Construction Dive.
Original story follows below:
- After intensified calls for action to combat hate at a distribution center construction site, general contractor RC Andersen and Amazon have upped their reward to $50,000, a ten-fold increase, for information that identifies whoever hung a noose at a jobsite in Connecticut.
- Windsor, Connecticut, police provided an update on what the department is calling a "potential hate incident" and reported that the FBI's Civil Rights Division is actively participating in the investigation after a noose and five ropes that could be perceived as nooses were found at the site in April.
- In addition, the FBI is running site workers' names through its database for possible links to past hate crimes, according to New Haven's News 8 WTNH.
Fairfield, New Jersey-based RC Andersen initially offered a reward of $5,000 after the ropes were discovered in April, but it since increased its part of the reward to $25,000, according to local media reports. An Amazon spokesperson confirmed to Construction Dive that the online giant is contributing another $25,000.
The Connecticut chapter of the NAACP has been pressing for both RC Andersen and Amazon to be more aggressive about finding those responsible, as well as for Amazon to stop selling noose-related merchandise on its website.
"We want all of the nooses off this construction site and and we also want all the nooses off of Amazon’s website," Scot X. Esdaile, president of the Connecticut NAACP, told News 8. "If you don’t support discrimination, what the hell do you have those nooses on your website for? Take them down and take them down now!”
A search for "noose" on Amazon's site turned up eight noose-related products including earrings, pendants and one noose-shaped keychain bottle opener. The retailer didn't immediately respond to a question about its policy toward noose-related merchandise on its site, although an Amazon spokesperson said the firm doesn't tolerate hate in any of its facilities.
“Amazon remains deeply disturbed by the incident that occurred in Windsor a couple of weeks ago," said Kelly Nantel, director of national media relations at the online retailer, in a statement emailed to Construction Dive. "Hate, racism and discrimination have no place in our society and are not tolerated in any development associated with Amazon — whether it be under construction like this one, or fully operational."
The increased reward and public pressure at the Amazon facility follows a similar incident at a Toronto, Canada, hospital construction site last year.
In that case, general contractor EllisDon also initially offered a $5,000 reward for information. But after no leads materialized, Michael Garron Hospital CEO Sarah Downey publicly lambasted the contractor for not doing enough to stop racist acts at the site in an open letter.
EllisDon subsequently upped its reward to $50,000, and a subcontractor on the job was arrested in connection with the crime in December.