Omaha man sentenced to prison after putting noose-shaped string on Black coworker’s chair

A man is sentenced after allegedly threatening a coworker with a noose
Published: Dec. 2, 2022 at 4:17 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Earlier this year 66-year-old Bruce Quinn told prosecutors that he placed a string fashioned into a noose where a Black co-worker was sure to find it.

The incident happened about two years ago at the Oriental Trading Company.

Quinn was fired from his job and he’s now on his way to federal prison to serve a four-month sentence for violating a section of the Civil Rights Act.

The victim’s family was not at all happy with Friday’s sentencing

The victim in this case, Keith Kirksey, didn’t talk to 6 News Friday, but he did speak to us two years ago shortly after the incident took place.

“Why would somebody want to do that,” Kirksey said. “And by me hearing on the news about all the other hangings and stuff in the United States, you would think that stuff had stopped, but it keeps going on and on.”

It was Kirksey’s family that did all of the talking after Friday’s sentencing,

“It put my family through traumatic stress due to the fact that Keith is one of my younger brothers,” said the victim’s sister Jacqueline Y. Kirksey. “Living in the state of Nebraska I never thought I would have to experience something like my brother went through, due to the fact that it is now 2022. And it made me think of Willie Brown, Emmett Till. I thought we were beyond that however today proved that we’re not.”

Plea agreement documents reveal Quinn admitted to putting the noose-shaped string on the seat of a floor scrubber where he knew Keith Kirksey would find it.

Those same documents say later in the interview Quinn stated “nazi stuff doesn’t make Black people crazy. But a hangman’s noose certainly would.”

The judge told Quinn, “what you did quite frankly was to terrorize Mr. Kirksey.”

Kirksey’s family and friends thought four months was not enough for what he put this family through.

“I thought it was rather light,” said friend Donald Robinson. “I also feel with the climate that’s been going on all across the world a greater message needs to be sent.”

“We want everybody to know my uncle’s life does matter and no matter what the courts had to say, there’s a higher power that has the last say and Keith Kirksey’s life does matter,” said aunt Jewell Kirksey Smith.

The judge pointed out that other than a DUI, Quinn has no criminal history.

Quinn will self-report when it’s time to serve his sentence. His attorney requested that Quinn serve his four months in Yankton, South Dakota so that he can be close to home. That request was granted by the judge.