Omaha Man Sentenced for Civil Rights Crime
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Nebraska
Acting United States Attorney Steven Russell announced that Bruce A. Quinn, 66, of Omaha, Nebraska, was sentenced today for Interference with Federally Protected Activities, a civil rights violation. United States District Court Magistrate Judge Susan M. Bazis sentenced Quinn to four months’ imprisonment and one year of supervised release. Quinn previously pleaded guilty to this charge on September 7, 2022.
According to court documents and statements made in court, on June 18, 2020, Keith Kirksey, a 63-year-old black man employed by the Oriental Trading Company in La Vista, Nebraska, arrived for his shift and went to an industrial floor scrubber. Kirksey discovered that an 8-to-12-inch piece of orange twine, deliberately twisted and knotted into the shape of a noose, had been left on the seat of the equipment. Kirksey was the only black employee trained to use the scrubber. Kirksey was extremely distraught by the small noose; he was crying and shaking, and he later told investigators that he was scared by the noose, believing it to be a death threat directed at him.
“Federal courts have long recognized the noose as one of the most vile symbols in American history”, said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Individuals, like this defendant, who use a noose to convey a threat of violence at a workplace will be held accountable for their actions.”
After the sentencing, FBI Omaha Special Agent in Charge Eugene Kowal said, “Bruce Quinn used an ugly historical symbol to intimidate a co-worker. This case highlights the FBI’s mission to aggressively investigate civil rights crimes and bring to justice those who victimize someone because of the color of their skin.”
“We are grateful for Sgt. Matt Barrall’s efforts to identify the suspect and his collaboration with the U.S. Attorney’s Office which brought a successful conclusion to the case,” said Sarpy County Sheriff Jeff Davis.
Acting U.S. Attorney Russell added, “I appreciate the excellent work of the investigators from the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This is a serious matter and their efforts, along with my staff and the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ, brought justice for the victim of this criminal act.”
This case was investigated by the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lecia Wright and Trial Attorney Cameron Bell of the Civil Rights Division prosecuted the case.
Updated December 8, 2022