PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) ─ A Pawtucket woman claims someone hung a noose in her garage because she has a Black Lives Matter symbol on her front door.
Courtney Coelho tells Eyewitness News that she placed the symbol on her door three weeks ago. When she returned home from work on Monday and saw the noose, she said her sense of security in her neighborhood was shattered.
“I walked in the door and removed a ladder that was in place…and it’s just initial shock,” Coelho explained.
Coelho, who is white, said she believes someone broke into her garage and hung the noose in an effort to silence her.
“It’s a racial attack against the fact that I have a Black Lives Matter tribute on my front door,” she said. “I have a biracial daughter, and as a white woman and mother and just as a human being, I stand up for the cause.”
The hardest part of the entire ordeal was trying to explain the behavior to her daughter.
“I had to explain to her at that moment, and she instantly filled with fear and shock and it’s not something you want to say as a mother to your 11-year-old child and see the emotions and effect it caused on her,” she said.
Gregory Brunson, one of Coelho’s neighbors, tells Eyewitness News he is in disbelief.
“It sent a surge of shock, adrenaline, anger, terror, fear…it could be somebody in the neighborhood, it could be someone I know, you don’t know who it is, so now you have to look at everyone with a more cautious eye,” Brunson said.
Coelho said that while she’s unsure who may have done it, she knows one thing for sure: it won’t stop her from fighting for her beliefs.
“That sign will remain, my stance remains, my voice remains,” she said. “I put it there for a reason and this is the exact reason. I won’t stand for racism…it’s just tough”
Coelho said her neighbor’s surveillance camera footage is currently being reviewed. The Pawtucket Police Department tells Eyewitness News the incident remains under investigation.