Victim Identified in #PiedmontParkHanging, Authorities Release Official Cause of Death



After the shocking July 7 hanging in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park, police have revealed the cause of death as well as the name of the young African-American victim. Initially ruled a suicide, a report by Georgia’s Fulton County Medical Examiner’s office confirms that was the case.

Asphyxiation by hanging is linked to the man’s death. Suicide is the manner of death. The medical examiner has identified the victim as 22-year-old  Michael George Smith Jr. of New Jersey.

Atlanta Black Star reported a young African-American man was found hanging from a tree in the park last Friday. Atlanta Police Department spokesman Donald Hannah told ABS “there were no discernible signs of a struggle or foul play.”

Twitter did not believe the victim’s death was caused by suicide, as the incident was immediately declared.

Kimmy Diei pointed to America’s racist history as the reason Smith could not have hung himself.

User @Glam_Mari also denounced the suicide.

@afronomics_  put her thoughts on the matter simply.

Atlanta Mayor Kaseem Reid referred the case to the FBI last week. When he spoke to WSB Friday during the Black Lives Matter protest, he remained adamant about being unable to answer any questions on the matter because the victim’s family had not yet been notified.

Reid released a statement on the incident saying he was “deeply saddened by the loss of a young man’s life last night in Piedmont Park. This disturbing event demands our full attention.”

“Everything we have seen suggests that there was no foul play involved,” he added. “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.”

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