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Was Black Teen Who Was Found Hanging, Actually a Lynching for His Relationship with White Woman?

December 13, 2014  |  Posted by: Giovanni DePhillips
Was Black Teen Who Was Found Hanging, Actually a Lynching for His Relationship with White Woman? Image courtesy of addictinginfo.org

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The FBI has launched an investigation into the hanging death of a black North Carolina teenager after his family questioned police ruling his death a suicide.

Lennon Lacy, 17, was found hanged by a dog leash and a belt from a swing set in a majority white trailer park in Bladenboro, Bladen County, just a mile from his home, in August this year.

Even though the state medical examiner ruled the teen’s death a suicide based on police findings and the county coroner, his family believes his death is indeed a ‘race-based homicide’.

They argued that the teenager did not have a history of mental illness and had washed his uniform and packed his bag as he prepared for a big football game hours before his body was found.

The family said he was discovered wearing a pair of white sneakers they do not believe were his, and what is most suspicious is that the sneakers were two sizes too small for him. The family maintains that standing at 6ft 4ins, Lennon could not reach up and touch the 7ft 5ins beam he apparently hanged himself from.

Nothing was present at the scene he could have used to reach the bar, they said.

The family are alleging that Lennon’s relationship with a 31-year-old white woman – who lived just down the road, may have led to his death.

The relationship was apparently not approved by many in the predominantly white community.
According to the Daily Mail, The teammates of Lennon also refuse to believe he had killed himself before their high school game, which the starting linebacker had reportedly spent the entire summer training for.

One of his teammates, Anthony White, said that his friend had huge NFL dreams, saying: ‘He was real excited… he was looking forward to doing good in the game.’

Lennon’s family, friends and teammates let there suspicions be known to a coalition of church leaders, lawyers and activists in the state who publicly called on federal authorities to investigate Lennon’s death.

The North Carolina branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) are claiming that police were too quick to call Lennon’s death a suicide after conducting a four day investigation.

‘Given evidence uncovered by the (North Carolina) NAACP, there are several other possible explanations for his death besides a simple suicide,’ the Association said in a letter.

The Reverend William Barber, president of the chapter of the NAACP, said many questions remain unanswered, including why the teenager was hanging from a dog leash and a belt he did not own.

‘We don’t know what happened that terrible night,’ Mr. Barber said.

Speaking to Yahoo, he added: ‘The call was made so quick. And what concerns us about that is that if Lennon Lee Lacy was white and was found hanging in a… predominantly black trailer park that was known to have some drug involvement and other things, we just don’t believe that it would have been this quick rush to say it was a suicide.

‘It would have been a very, very, very intense investigation.’
The mother of Lennon, Claudia Lacy, supported the calls for further investigation into the death of her son, “I just want to know what happened to my 17-year-old son; all I want is justice,”

Lacey dismissed the coroner’s report that Lennon suffered from depression over his uncle’s death, claiming the loss would never had driven him to suicide, because he was a very happy person.

Lacey also revealed that her son’s body had a number of cuts and had large bump on his head, which could indicate he was assaulted by someone.

In an interview with the AP, Lacey said: ‘When I saw him, I just knew automatically he didn’t do that to himself, Seventeen years old, he had no reason to. I know my child. As a mother, I would have sensed if something was wrong to the point that he was going to harm himself.’

Just after the family buried Lennon, his grave was vandalized, and Lennon’s family believe the teen was killed in a racially-motivated homicide.

After months of campaigning, the coroner who ruled Lennon’s death a suicide has now questioned his discovery because too many ‘unanswered questions’ remain in the case.
On Friday, Bladen County District Attorney, Jon David, confirmed to AP that the FBI have indeed assigned an agent to the case after the bureau was made aware of the coroner’s concerns.
Lennon’s family hope the FBI’s decision will be the detailed investigation they have been waiting for.

However, Teresa West, a spokesman for the State Bureau of Investigation, said agents have already addressed all viable leads in the hanging, and the Bladen County District Attorney’s office said in a statement that it has not received evidence that would counter the initial report of ‘asphyxia due to hanging’ cause of death verdict.

‘While the investigation is ongoing, and no final determinations have been made, to date we have not received any evidence of criminal wrongdoing surrounding the death,’ it said.

The state chapter of the NAACP has organizing a march in Bladenboro, a tiny town with a largely white population of fewer than 2,000 people, on Saturday.

From the Daily Mail

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