ELPD Seeks Information on Bananas Left on Sidewalks with Racist Messaging

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Photos posted to Facebook today showing bananas found on sidewalks in East Lansing.

East Lansing Interim Police Chief Steve Gonzalez is seeking “witnesses with any information that can help us determine the details” behind what appears to be a rash of bananas marked with the words “Black Lives Matter” left along East Lansing and Meridian Township sidewalks.

Bananas have been used by racists as a way to intimidate and harass African Americans. Gonzalez asks those who know anything to contact ELPD’s Detective Bureau at 517-319-6884.

ELi is now aware of three independent reports of these incidents in the area.

ELi first became aware of the situation earlier today from Amanda Wildeboer, whose eleven-year-old daughter found one of these bananas on the sidewalk outside their home yesterday.

Wildeboer’s family is white and shares a duplex with an African American family near Saginaw Street, just north of Patriarche Park, in East Lansing.

Recognizing the act as one of racist intimidation, Wildeboer called ELPD. An officer came out and took a report and photographs. (The officer did not take the banana and Wildeboer disposed of it.)

Another person who did not wish to be identified found another banana also labeled “Black Lives Matter” outside the Deerpath apartments in East Lansing, on Haslett Road just east of Hagadorn Road.

Advised this morning of this developing story, ELi Board President Sam Hosey informed us that he saw several of these inscribed bananas along Haslett Road – “three in a row about a tenth of a mile apart” west of Park Lake Road, while he was out on his regular walk with his wife yesterday.

Gonzalez says, “If there are more instances of this type of behavior we want community members to report them to ELPD so we can document and investigate appropriately.” Again, the number to call is 517-319-6884.

Note: This story was updated with the clearer information about the Deerpath incident on June 5 at 1:15 p.m.

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