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A Texas man terrorized his neighbor’s black sons, allegedly hanging a noose to threaten them. Police told him it was about free speech

A Manvel, Texas, woman said her two young boys endured racial harassment for more than a year, including nooses being displayed in her neighbor’s yard, but her complaints to local police went nowhere until a family member brought the matter to the mayor’s office.

Mayor Dan Davis said he was made aware of the hateful incidents that occurred over the weekend of June 29 and 30 and immediately launched an investigation. On Monday, July 1, the distraught mother and her father, who lives with her in suburban Houston, spoke out at a Manvel City Council meeting to demand that police take the incidents seriously.

Kat Ducommun recounted the nightmare her sons endured for months, describing a particularly terrifying interaction with her neighbor and the lack of an appropriate response from police. She said her neighbor hung the noose in his yard, right outside his house, with a message for his young son.

Kat Ducommun shared this photo of her neighbor shining lights in front of her house. (Photo: Facebook/Kat Ducommun)

“I have something for your little boy,” she said, pointing to the tree and the noose, referring to the rope, she said at the city council meeting, shaking and in tears. “I notified your officers and nothing happened. I’m sorry to get emotional, but I’m a mother just trying to do this for my kids.”

His father, George Ducommun, told the city council that he personally went to the police station four times to file a complaint about the “torment,” but was repeatedly turned down. “I even had one officer say, ‘Well, what do you want us to do about it?'” George also said the man pointed guns at several neighbors.

The latest noose incident was the final straw for Kat Ducommun, who is determined to bring the situation to light and is now reaching out to the press, contacting civil rights advocates and asking the district attorney’s office to get involved.

“We tried to follow the right paths, but we were not heard… We know that we have had problems from the beginning, and nothing is being done with the police,” she told the city council.

Over the past year and a half, Ducommun said her neighbor has let his dog off leash to chase after his son and has pointed commercial-grade lights at their home throughout the night in addition to portable floodlights, which is considered a nuisance under Texas state law.

“Our house looks like Christmas every night. The light shines through our windows. The police are like, ‘Well, just put up blackout curtains.’ Well, why do I have to put up blackout curtains when there’s a known racist in front of my kids?” Ducommun said at the meeting. Shockingly, the police refused to take action on the noose, citing freedom of speech.

Reached by a reporter from local station KHOU 11, Manvel Police Chief Keith Traylor promised to act immediately and confirmed that police are currently investigating allegations of racism and racial threats. But he first told a reporter that police need proof of a racially motivated threat regarding the noose before they can force the neighbor to remove it.

“That’s the problem. They’re waiting for something bad to happen at that point. And my dad, you know, he even thought about us moving. Why not just move? For what? It’s going to happen to somebody else who’s going to come live here,” Ducommun told KHOU.

Mayor Davis condemned the racist acts as soon as the allegations were brought to his attention — he confirmed that the noose has now been released.

“I am deeply troubled by this and want to be clear and unequivocal: Racially motivated actions are abhorrent and have no place in our city, and they do not reflect the values ​​of our community or our City Council,” he wrote in a July 2 press release.

City officials will review police body camera footage from the alleged incidents, and police have now issued a ticket for the minor violations.

“We have been notified that the lighting has been removed. If the city code violation occurs again in the future, we will be issuing daily citations until the issue is resolved,” Davis wrote in the official statement, adding, “One of our police sergeants spoke with the affected family about our animal control ordinance and the enforcement tools we have under it.”

“I have reached out to community leaders, civil rights activists and the family to reiterate my support and full commitment to ensuring this matter is thoroughly investigated,” he said.

According to the ACLU, hate symbols, such as a noose, are not protected by the First Amendment if they are used to target or threaten an individual, as is the case with Ducommun and her children. They are only protected by the Constitution if they are worn or displayed in a public place in front of a general audience, such as at a march or rally in a public park.

“No one should have to deal with this,” Ducommun told Fox 26. “My kids shouldn’t have to deal with this. They shouldn’t have to be raised around this,” she said. “If something were to happen to him…” she said, referring to her son who was targeted by the noose. “Because I don’t want that to happen, and that’s what I’ve tried to do this whole time, is be proactive.”