Noose, "dark-skinned dolls" reported at SF construction site

- It's one of the new towers that has helped reshape downtown San Francisco. But behind the shimmering glass, police say they're investigating a possible hate crime at a busy construction site.

The incidents were reported at the Park Tower at Transbay, a gleaming 43-story office skyscraper being built at Beale and Howard streets. The building will boast beautiful views of San Francisco when it opens later this year. But construction workers say they twice came across an ugly sight. 

On March 1, a noose was found on the 10th floor. There's been graffiti with the N-word scrawled on the premises. And last Friday, in a first-floor bathroom, another discovery: 

"There were cabbage patch dolls with nooses around their neck," says Oakland civil rights attorney John Burris.

Those dolls reportedly had dark skin.

An African American worker who works at the building told me the noose and dolls are racially offensive and "incredibly disgusting." 

He and a second worker have consulted with Burris.

"It is shameful that in this day and age we have this kind of activity taking place, but it speaks to the fact that there's an undercurrent of significant racism, particularly in environments like this where there's a competition for their job," Burris said.

San Francisco police say they've seized evidence in the case and are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime. 

Construction workers not involved in the park tower project say they're stunned.

"I don't think it's right," said J.R. Garietz. "They shouldn't be doing it. That's not the right place to do it. They shouldn't be doing it at all. I don't agree with that." 

Trae Millett agreed, saying, "It shouldn't be happening. A lot of times you'll see a lot of the disgusting verbiage and stuff like that in the restrooms, at the job sites. And that's where people seem to go to vent." 

Park Tower, which sits across from the Temporary Transbay Terminal, is being built by Clark Construction.

Troy Reagan says he was fired by Clark Construction after coming forward with allegations of harassment.

"The management, they're not paying attention closely to what's going on on the job site," Reagan said.

"They have a lot of racial issues going on. They have a lot of African Americans who were hired - and fired - from this company."

Clark Construction says it ordered a job-wide stand-down after both incidents to meet with all worker and subcontractors.

In a statement, the company said, "Clark believes in the dignity of every employee and is committed to providing all employees with a work environment that is free of discrimination or harassment of any kind."
 

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