TALLADEGA, Ala. — The rope tied into the shape of a noose found in the garage stall of NASCAR's only Black driver, Bubba Wallace, had been there since as early as October 2019, the FBI announced Tuesday evening.
The rope was a garage pull with the end knotted into the shape of a noose.
U.S. Attorney Jay Town and FBI Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp said in a joint statment the FBI used video to verify the rope tied into the shape of a noose had been hanging from the garage door in stall number 4 at Talladega Superspeedway for several months. Wallace's team was only assigned that specific stall last week and authorities said nobody could have known that would be the case.
The FBI has decided not to pursue federal charges after reviewing all of the facts in the case so far.
“On Monday, fifteen FBI special agents conducted numerous interviews regarding the situation at Talladega Superspeedway. After a thorough review of the facts and evidence surrounding this event, we have concluded that no federal crime was committed," the joint statement said.
The FBI said it has decided not to pursue any charges after reviewing all of the facts in the case so far.
NASCAR has defended its reaction and insisted it would call the FBI again. It was the lone garage stall with a pull down rope that resembled a noose.
Richard Petty Motor Sports made this statement in response to the report:
NASCAR announced late Sunday the noose had been discovered and the industry rallied around Wallace. All 39 of his rival drivers and their crews helped push Wallace's car to the front of pit road before the national anthem and stood behind him in solidarity.
"We appreciate the FBI’s quick and thorough investigation and are thankful to learn that this was not an intentional, racist act against Bubba," NASCAR said in a statement. "We remain steadfast in our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all who love racing.”
An employee for Wood Brothers Racing notified the racing group Monday, after he recalled seeing a "tied handle" in the the garage last fall.
"We immediately alerted NASCAR and have assisted the investigation in every way possible," Wood Brothers Racing said in a statement.
This tweet shows pics from the garage in November 2019 and this past Sunday.
NASCAR posted this after the investigation:
NASCAR president Steve Phelps said, "This is the best result we could hope for...it is fantastic to hear from the FBI, definitively, this is not a hate crime." Phelps added, "To be clear, we would do this again. The evidence we had, it was clear we needed to look into this."
Wallace gained national attention two weeks ago after he successfully pushed NASCAR to ban the Confederate flag at all its tracks and events.
The stock car series was left angered by what was seen at the time as a racist act that came less than two weeks after it banned the Confederate flag on NASCAR properties at Wallace’s urging.
NASCAR vowed to permanently bar the person responsible, but at that time the FBI investigation was in its early stages, the Associated Press reported.
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