The U.S. Mint in Philadelphia placed an employee on administrative leave after a noose was found on an African American's chair, CBS News reported.
According to the president of the mint workers union, the unidentified worker made the noose with rope used to seal coin bags once they're full. Surveillance video showed a white male coin maker walking across the floor around 3pm on June 28 with a noose in hand.
Following calls by many African Americans, the U.S. Treasury Department's inspector general launched an internal investigation. Mint officials declined to discuss the incident, but issued the following email statement: "We have absolutely zero tolerance for the kind of misconduct reported at the Mint. Secretary Mnuchin has directed that this matter be handled swiftly and seriously. The investigation is moving ahead quickly. We strive every day for a workplace environment that is welcoming and safe for all."
Nooses have long been used to intimidate African Americans because they are reminiscent of lynchings. According to the nonprofit Equal Justice Initiative, there were more than 4,000 lynchings in the South between 1877 and 1950.
For blacks, the noose is "comparable in the emotions that it evokes to that of the swastika for Jews," the Anti-Defamation League added.