State and federal investigators are trying to find out who threw seven desperate trees outside the Mississippi Capitol on Monday, the day before the US Senate race, which focuses attention on the country's history of racial violence.
The Mississippi Public Safety Department explains that loops were handwritten signs relating to the Tuesday and Linz elections – most of them in the country's turbulent past, but also one recent case of a black man whose body was found hanging in central Mississippi. The department published pictures of signs on social media and looked for information about them from the public.
One sign referred to Tuesday's race between Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, who is white, and Democrat Mike Aspie, black. The sign reads: "We need someone who respects the lives of Lynch victims."
Another sign reads: "We depend on nooes to remind people that times have not changed."
Hyde-Smith drew fire to a photograph showing a Confederate soldier's replica hat and a video in which she praised the supporter and said, "If he invites me to a public hanging, I will be in the front row." She says the complainant's statement is "an exaggerated expression of respect" Have sharply criticized the country with 38% of the black population. She apologized to anyone who was hurt.
Aspie is trying to become the first American-American senator since Mississippi.
Neither Aspie nor the spokeswoman of Hyde-Smith's campaign would have commented on the sins.
Mack Mackintosh, a spokesman for the Mississippi Department of Treasury and Administration, who oversees the Capitol, said the celebrities and signs had been found just before 8 am Monday outside the Capitol in downtown Jackson.
The subject has been researched by the Department of Public Safety of Mississippi, the Mississippi Police Department and the Mississippi State Attorney's Office.
"With our law enforcement partners, we actively investigate acts of hatred and intimidation," US attorney Mike Hurst said in a statement. "Let me be absolutely clear – there is no place in our country for these symbols or tactics that are unacceptable to intimidate others. If we find evidence beyond reasonable doubt that a federal crime has occurred, these perpetrators will be prosecuted quickly."
Republican Vice President Tate Reeves, who has an office in Capitol Hill, called the "known" and "negative."
Mississippi has a history of racially motivated lynchings. The NAACP website states that between 1882 and 1968 there were 4,743 lynchts in the United States, and that nearly 73 percent of the victims were black. That means Mississippi was 581 Lynch during this period, the highest number of any country.
Human rights activists were also beaten in Mississippi when they pushed for the vote of African Americans, especially from the end of World War II to the 1960s.
Associated Press Reporter Amy contributed to this report.