Police says ‘no intent’ of hate behind black doll given at Mississippi Mardi Gras parade

Published 5:08 pm Thursday, March 5, 2020

Police say they did not uncover evidence of a hate crime when a black girl was handed a black doll with Mardi Gras beads around its neck during a parade last month on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

The probe happened after Nicole Fairconeture of Pass Christian told authorities a float rider handed her daughter a black doll with a string of beads around its neck like a noose and told the girl, “That’s you.”

The girl was so upset she didn’t stay for the rest of the Feb. 16 parade, which her family attends every year. Fairconeture said the doll was “dressed like a slave.”

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The Sun Herald reports that the Waveland and Bay St. Louis police departments investigated the case as a hate crime.

On Wednesday, Bay St. Louis Police chief Gary Ponthieux said witnesses and parade participants gave conflicting statements.

He said a “white male” who is not a resident of the coastal counties threw the doll.

“It was determined the assorted stuffed dolls and animals, which were distributed by the parade participants, were all hanging by Mardi Gras beads prior to being thrown,” he said in a statement posted on Facebook.

Ponthieux said no statues or ordinances were violated, and “there was no intent of hatred.”

However, the family’s attorney said their trauma isn’t over.

“Perhaps the federal law is more applicable for this type of situation,” said Michael Crosby of Gulfport. “Obviously, we remain concerned.”