The FBI is investigating the hanging death of a black North Carolina teenager after his family questioned an official ruling that he committed suicide, it was today revealed.
Lennon Lacy, 17, was found hanging by a dog leash and a belt from a swing set in a largely white trailer park in Bladenboro, Bladen County, less than a mile from his home, in August this year.
Although the state medical examiner ruled Lennon's death a suicide based on reports from law enforcement and a county coroner, his family argued that it was a 'race-based homicide'.
They pointed out that the teenager - who had no history of mental illness - had washed his uniform and packed his bag in preparation for a big football game just hours before he was found hanging.
My son – a black teenager who had the world going for him, who was looking forward to playing in a big football game with his high-school team that same night – was found hanging from a swing set in the middle of a white trailer park. And within hours the police had decided it was suicide.
It doesn’t look like that to me. We don’t know what happened to my son three months ago, and suicide is still possible. But there are so many unanswered questions that I can’t help but ask:
Was he killed? Was my son lynched?
It’s hard to think that in 2014, with a black man in the White House, such a thing could have happened in the United States. I remember as a very young child, growing up in Bladenboro there was a sign in the window of the grocery store: WHITES ONLY, it said. But as I got older and went to school I was raised to think of myself as an equal, who could do anything alongside anybody.
On Friday morning, August 29, 17 year old African American Lennon Lacy, of rural Bladenboro, North Carolina, was allegedly found hanging from a children’s swing set in a predominantly white trailer park less than a half mile from his home. Within hours, authorities on the scene determined ‘suicide’ - despite strenuous objections from the Lacy family, despite the fact that the shoes found on the body were a size-and-a-half too small and didn’t even belong to Lennon, despite the fact that the belts used to make the noose did not belong to Lennon, and despite the absence of a suicide note (not that they bothered searching for one).