An unidentified Black man was found hung to death from a tree in the park. While local enforcement has ruled the death a suicide and have said there is no evidence of foul play, the Atlanta Journal Constitution and many individuals online question the legitimacy of that claim.
The Atlanta Police Department released a statement that was later tweeted out.
APD on body hanging from Piedmont Park tree: no signs of foul play or struggle. Death consistent w/ a suicide. pic.twitter.com/7jn0PpaA1P— Thomas Wheatley (@thomaswheatley) July 7, 2016
Despite the police claim that the death is a suicide, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is taking no chances and has referred the case to the FBI.
He also released a statement regarding the death:
"I am deeply saddened by the loss of a young man’s life last night in Piedmont Park. This disturbing event demands our full attention. The Atlanta Police Department (APD) is conducting a robust investigation into his death and I have asked to receive regular briefings on the status of the investigation. We have also referred the case to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Everything we have seen suggests that there was no foul play involved, but I want to state clearly and unequivocally that we will not prejudge the circumstances surrounding this young man’s death. APD will share all evidence discovered in the course of the investigation. We ask for the public’s support and cooperation as we work to resolve this matter."
Many have taken to Twitter to question whether or not the death was actually a suicide.
Black people don't hang themselves from trees; try again #PiedmontParkHanging— Mari, MPH (@Glam_Mari) July 7, 2016
To make this incident even more disturbing, and the suicide even more questionable, many are claiming that they saw KKK members hanging flyers in and around the park the night before the body was found.
So KKK was passing out flyers near piedmont park yesterday...then a black man is hanging from the tree the next— Still Aint Shit (@Rocky_Blu_) July 7, 2016
This case is clearly far from over, and while no foul play is suspected, it is good that the FBI will be able to conduct a full investigation.
Sadly, the only hope is that this death was a suicide and not something far more disturbing.
(Photo: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)