California artists say they hung black effigies

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BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — A group of anonymous artists took responsibility for hanging three life-size cardboard images of black lynching victims at the University of California, Berkeley, leading campus authorities to say Monday they no longer view the incident as a hate crime.

A note pinned to a bulletin board at the school said a "Bay Area collective of queer, black and PoC (people of color) artists" placed the images on campus ahead of a nearby protest of police brutality on Saturday.

The note apologized to African-Americans who were upset by the images, saying the effigies were meant to provoke thought about a history of violence against blacks. The note said the hanging of the effigies wasn't meant to be racist and that the artists wish to remain unidentified.

"We choose to remain anonymous because this is not about us as artists, but about the growing movement to address these pervasive wrongs," the note said.

Campus spokeswoman Claire Holmes said police believe the note is credible and are no longer investigating the incident as a hate crime.

The incident ignited debate over the weekend between those who viewed the images as protest art and others who saw the effigies as tasteless and racist.

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