A fuel company at a Rhode Island airport fired two workers Monday accused of hanging a noose over the desk of a Black co-worker.
It was a colleague of John Valles at the T.F. Green Airport in Warwick, R.I., who found the noose when Valles was on vacation Feb. 15.
"I took it as a racial slur. A hate crime. That's how I took it," Valles said.
Allied Aviation announced the firings following the findings of its internal investigation, officials said.
"We have a zero tolerance policy for any type of discrimination or harassment," said Mike Kiouses of Allied Aviation.
A third man who lost his job is Eric Carlin, who said he was dismissed for taking a cell phone picture of the noose. Carlin contends that he took the picture for evidence, reports television station WPRI.
Valles has said that Carlin is a friend, and he doesn't believe he was part of the incident. But Kiouses said that Carlin did not follow company policy, which was to report the incident immediately to a manager.
Valles said he wanted to see the culprits taken away from the airport in handcuffs.
"I feel like if I did a hate crime, I would be in handcuffs. I'd like to see the same thing happen to the other people who would do that," he said, unable to conceal his anger. "That's where I go to work. I should be able to go to work happy, work in a comfortable area. Since then, it's been very uncomfortable," Valles said.