African-American family finds toy hanging from noose in yard

An African-American family in Commerce Township woke up Saturday morning to find toy hanging by a noose in their front yard.

The family said they are one of few African-American families living in the area and they don't know who may have done this.

"We were so upset," said homeowner Jill Bryant. "We were very upset."

Bryant and her family discovered a stuffed Tasmanian devil toy hanging upside down from a noose in her tree Saturday morning. Its hands were tied behind its back and a firecracker was stuffed in its head.

"I try to explain to my children and they don't get it. They're like, 'Man, we don't understand, why would someone be that ignorant?'" Bryant said.

The Bryant family has lived in their home on Long Lake, a primarily Caucasian community, for two years. They said they first noticed signs of hate two weeks ago when a boater called out the N-word from the lake.

"When you're living so close to something like this -- that's hate," Bryant said. "I don't teach hate. I don't teach that in my family."

The Oakland County Sheriffs Office is investigating who strung up the stuffed animal and why.

"The ignorance that I've found here has been unsurpassed," Bryant said. "I can't understand it."

But the hate has also inspired love from neighbors who say they simply won't tolerate this.

"Whoever did it is playing sick," said neighbor Sandra Jatkowski. "How can a human being treat other human beings like that?"

Bryant said she hopes this becomes a teachable moment.

"Whoever did this, I hope that there's a lesson in it and that they won't do it again," she said.

The sheriff's office was unable to provide comment on camera, but the family said a few hours ago, Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard gave them a call, reassuring them that this crime will not be tolerated.