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Victim Found Hanging In Piedmont Park Identified As Gay Midtown Man

As the world was mourning the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling last week, news broke on social media that a body was found hanging from a tree in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park.

Many were scrambling looking for more information on the rumor in fear that it would be yet another act of violence committed against a black person.

Unfortunately, the AJC has confirmed at least half of that fear…

Atlanta police say that is not the situation at all, confirming the body found was the victim of a suicide.

Officers were called to the Charles Allen entrance of the park just before 5 a.m. and discovered a man’s body hanging from a tree by a rope, spokesman Donald Hannah said.

Emergency officials arrived on the scene and pronounced the man dead, Hannah said.

Now more news of the victim has surfaced after many questioned whether or not the Black Atlanta resident really committed suicide. According to Project Q reports:

Michael George Smith Jr., a native of Hackensack, N.J., was found hanging from a tree near the Charles Allen Drive entrance to the park about 4:30 a.m. on Thursday. On Tuesday, Atlanta police identified the man as Smith, who is black, in an effort to quash social media speculation that his death was a “modern-day lynching.” Smith’s suicide came during a week of protests in Atlanta and across the nation over recent police shootings and Mayor Kasim Reed faced questions about Smith’s death from protesters on Friday.

But the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s office ruled that Smith’s cause of death was asphyxiation by hanging and the manner of death was suicide.

Smith tied a white rope to a branch of the tree and then around his neck and hung himself, according to an incident report from the Atlanta Police Department. He had earbuds in his ears and was wearing a backpack, along with a grey t-shirt, black jeans and a pair of black Converse Chuck Taylors, police said.

Police also found a large wheeled garbage can next to the tree with a shoe print on its lid that matched Smith’s shoes. He also had light pollen on his shirt and marks on his jeans from climbing the tree, police said.

There were no defensive wounds on Smith’s body and no signs of a struggle, police said in the incident report.

Investigators claim that just minutes before Smith’s body was found, he posted a cryptic message on his Facebook page – where he identifies as London Jermaine:

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Sadly, despite the police report, we have to side-eye the situation *just* a tad bit to account for the fact that, well, police be lyin’. That said, it’s still sad to know that someone took their life in a such a painful and public manner.



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