FBI Conclusion on Black Teen's Hanging Death: Suicide, Not Hate Crime

One pathologist had suggested it was physically impossible for teen to hang himself
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2016 12:01 PM CDT
FBI Conclusion on Black Teen's Hanging Death: Suicide, Not Hate Crime
In this Monday, Dec. 1, 2014 photo, Claudia Lacy, center, cries as she thanks those in attendance at the First Baptist Church in Bladenboro, N.C., to listen to the Rev. Dr. William Barber II, president of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, talk about her son's death.   (AP Photo/The Fayetteville Observer, Raul R. Rubiera)

When 17-year-old Lennon Lacy's body was found hanging from a belt on a swing set in a predominantly white trailer park on Aug. 29, 2014, the morning before he was set to debut as a junior linebacker on his football team in the tiny town of Bladenboro, NC, local police quickly ruled it a suicide. But Lennon's family strongly suspected that he was the target of a hate crime, reports the Guardian, and not suicidal over having recently attended a beloved uncle's funeral. The North Carolina chapter of the NAACP made a case to the FBI to investigate, and nearly two years later the agency now says that upon a thorough review of the case, including new witness and family testimony, there is no evidence to pursue federal criminal civil rights charges.

In particular, the Lacy family noted that instead of wearing his new Jordans, Lennon was found in ill-fitting laceless white shoes that no one recognized, reports the Fayetteville Observer. And at 5-foot-9, they wondered how he could have reached the noose, though the Undefeated notes that one photo of the scene shows that the two-belt noose hung lower than had been previously thought and was within his reach. Further complicating matters is the teen's relationship with a 31-year-old white woman, which his mother, Claudia Lacy, speculates could have provoked violence against him. The family has yet to provide a statement reacting to the FBI's decision. (These two college kids were arrested for allegedly spraying-painting all kinds of offensive and obscene things, as well as "Trump.")

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