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Furor erupted Thursday when a black doll was found hanging with a noose around its neck in Queen Village until two preteen boys — one black and one white — said they had put the doll there as a prank. There was nothing racial about their act, they said.

Rev. Mark Kelly Tyler, pastor of Mother Bethel AME Church, said in an interview Thursday night that the boys admitted the act to NBC10 reporter Rosemary Connors and said they put up the doll to scare people.

Tyler, who spoke with both Mayor Kenney and Police Commissioner Richard Ross, said the boys did not know about the symbolism of the noose and the history of lynchings in America, and he hoped that this episode could serve as a “teaching moment.”

A mother with her 3-year-old child discovered the doll Thursday at the Weccacoe Playground near Fourth and Catharine.

Part of the playground sits on top of an African American burial ground. That cemetery was established by Richard Allen, the founder of the AME Church, the first independent black denomination in America.

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