Three cardboard cutouts of black men were found hanging by nooses Saturday 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.
The effigies had names of 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 who hanged the effigies.
"We are unsure of the intent," Hamaoui said.
Two of the effigies were removed by police and a student took down the third.
Organizers of the Berkeley protest were mystified as well.
"We just hope it's someone who wanted to bring attention to the issue," said Spencer Pritchard, 21, a UC Berkeley student and an organizer of the demonstration. Pritchard said about 200 protesters demonstrated in Berkeley with the goal to "disrupt business as usual to show that black lives matter."
Pritchard said many of the Berkeley protests plan on attending a demonstration against police brutality starting in Oakland at 2 p.m. PST. A similar demonstration is scheduled at the same time in San Francisco and elsewhere in the country.
Meanwhile, the St. Louis County prosecutor has released hundreds of pages of additional documents from the investigation into the police shooting of Michael Brown, including the interview transcript of a friend who was with Brown when he was killed.
Prosecutor Robert McCulloch says the records released Saturday were inadvertently not included with documents made public Nov. 24, when a grand jury decided not to charge Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson for killing Brown.
Among the newly released records is a transcript of an interview of Brown's friend Dorian Johnson by the FBI and county police. The interview happened four days after the Aug. 9 confrontation in which the white officer shot the black 18-year-old.
Johnson later testified to the grand jury. A transcript of that testimony was released last month.