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SIX black people have been found dead in string of hangings since the death of George Floyd - sparking police investigations amid fears of lynchings

SIX black people have been found dead in string of hangings since the death of George Floyd - sparking police investigations amid fears of lynchings
Authorities are investigating a sudden string of hangings involving black and Hispanic Americans after a sixth person of color was found hanging from a tree in the wake of George Floyd's death in Minnesota last month.
Since May 27, one woman, four men and a teenage boy have been found dead from separate hangings in Portland, Southern California, Houston and New York City.
So far officials have ruled every case a suicide, but each of the incidents have fuelled fears and suspicions about the possibility of lynchings as racial tensions continue to fester nationwide.
‘People are on edge. They are nervous. This is a troubling, a challenging time for us. It is shocking in our community, and no death in that form should go uninvestigated,’ Congressman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) told Fox26 this week after a Hispanic man was found hanging from a tree in Houston on Monday.
in that case, officials say they found no evidence of foul play after the man’s body was found in the community of Shady Acres. Authorities have not identified the man and are still awaiting autopsy results from the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences.
Malcolm Harsch
Robert Fuller
Since May 27, one woman, four men and a teenage boy have been found dead from separate hangings in Portland, Southern California, Houston and New York City. Malcolm Harsch (left), 38, was found in dead in a tree near a homeless encampment in Victorville on May 31 - just 10 days before the body of another black man, 24-year-old Robert Fuller (right), was found in suspiciously similar circumstances about 45 miles
So far officials have ruled every case a suicide, but each of the incidents have fuelled fears and suspicions about the possibility of lynchings as racial tensions continue to fester nationwide (pictured: Multiple 'nooses' were spotted hanging in a Bronx, NYC, park which police have dismissed as pinata string)
So far officials have ruled every case a suicide, but each of the incidents have fuelled fears and suspicions about the possibility of lynchings as racial tensions continue to fester nationwide (pictured: Multiple 'nooses' were spotted hanging in a Bronx, NYC, park which police have dismissed as pinata string)
Two days later, police reported finding a black 17-year-old boy hanged outside of Ehrhardt Elementary School in nearby neighborhood of Spring on Wednesday morning.
Local law enforcement said their investigation so far points toward suicide.
‘Deputies were called to the parking area of a school in the 6600 block of Rosebrook, where a teenage black male was found deceased,’ the Harris County Sheriff’s Office confirmed in a statement. ‘Based on security video, witnesses and other evidence, preliminary indications are the male hanged himself.’
The sheriff’s office said the boy ‘had a history of suicide attempts, with one attempted as recently as a few weeks ago.’
Congresswoman Jackson, however, believes there ‘could be to the story after an eerie pattern of recent suicides where black men were found hanging from trees.’Members of the surrounding community also voiced their concern, as reported by KRIV.
‘We’re talking about multiple people hanging from trees across America in the middle of a race war that’s going,’ said resident Anthony Scott.
‘With everything that’s been transpiring, with all of the hangings that have been taking place within the last two weeks, why wouldn’t you automatically assume foul play? No one is hanging themselves from a tree,’ added another, who spoke on grounds of anonymity.
Police reported finding a black 17-year-old boy hanged outside of Ehrhardt Elementary School  (above) in nearby neighborhood of Spring on Wednesday morning
Police reported finding a black 17-year-old boy hanged outside of Ehrhardt Elementary School  (above) in nearby neighborhood of Spring on Wednesday morning
A Hispanic man was also found hanging from a tree in Houston on Monday. In that case, officials say they found no evidence of foul play after the man’s body was found in the community of Shady Acres (above)
A Hispanic man was also found hanging from a tree in Houston on Monday. In that case, officials say they found no evidence of foul play after the man’s body was found in the community of Shady Acres (above)
The first of the six hangings came in Portland, Oregon on May 27, when Otis ‘Titi’ Gulley, a 31-year-old a homeless black transgender woman was found hanging from a tree in Rocky Butte Park.
The Multnomah County Medical Examiner's Office ruled Gulley's death a suicide, but Gulley’s family are not convinced, fearing instead she was killed for her gender identity.
‘You didn’t ask any questions,’ Kenya Robinson, Gulley’s mother, told the Portland Mercury, referring to the Portland Police Bureau. ‘You saw a Black man in a tree who was in a homeless camp, and you wrote him off as being a transient homeless, and wrote it off as a suicide.’
Malcolm Harsch, 38, was found in dead in a tree near a homeless encampment in Victorville on May 31 - just 10 days before the body of another black man, 24-year-old Robert Fuller, was found in suspiciously similar circumstances about 45 miles away in another California town.
The families of both victims have cast doubts on the manner of their deaths, insisting neither of the two men were suicidal and both ordering an independent investigation.
In the case of Harsch, family members have since said he died of suicide and not a lynching, after they were shown ‘video evidence’ of the lead-up to his death.
On behalf of the family of Malcolm Harsch unfortunately it seems he did take his own life,' Najee Ali, a community activist and spokesman for Harsch's family, said in a statement Friday.
The first of the six hangings came in Portland, Oregon on May 27, when Otis ‘Titi’ Gulley (above), a 31-year-old a homeless black transgender woman was found hanging from a tree in Rocky Butte Park
The first of the six hangings came in Portland, Oregon on May 27, when Otis ‘Titi’ Gulley (above), a 31-year-old a homeless black transgender woman was found hanging from a tree in Rocky Butte Park
'The Victorville Police Department officials released new video evidence to family members.'
Ali said detectives had also met with Harsch's family and handed over evidence per their request.
However, in the case of Fuller, uncertainty still looms. The 24-year-old was found hanging from a tree on June 10 in a park near Palmdale City Hall.
Authorities immediately ruled his death a suicide and city officials attributed it to the emotional despair caused by the coronavirus pandemic. However, concerned residents and family members have voiced scepticism regarding the hasty conclusion.
The Department of Justice and the FBI are now reviewing Fuller’s death, after Los Angeles County officials this week walked back their original statements about the case.

Chief medical examiner-coroner, Jonathan Lucas, said Monday that Fuller’s death was listed a suicide after his office found no immediate indications of a homicide.
‘Initially, there wasn’t any evidence or information that lead us to believe that there was anything other than a suicide,’ he said, before continuing he now thought it was necessary to ‘roll back’ those findings and continue their probe.
‘We felt better that we should look into it a little bit more deeply and carefully, just considering all the circumstances at play,’ he said.
Fuller’s surviving family members, who have repeatedly stressed the 24-year-old was not suicidal, are also seeking an independent investigation and autopsy.
‘To rush to the conclusion that this was a suicide and not a homicide is extremely disturbing,’ Hicks, the family’s lawyer said in a statement. ‘Especially given the manner by which Mr. Fuller was found—hanging from a tree. 
'For African-Americans in America, hanging from a tree is a lynching,' he continued. 'Why was this cavalierly dismissed as a suicide and not investigated as a murder?'
The families of both victims cast doubts on the manner of their deaths, insisting neither of the two men were suicidal and both ordering an independent investigation.
Malcom Harsch
The families of both Fuller (left) and Harsch (right) have cast doubts on the manner of their deaths, insisting neither of the two men were suicidal and both ordering an independent investigation.
On Wednesday, Fuller’s half-brother, Terron J. Boone, was fatally shot when he opened fire on Los Angeles County major crimes bureau deputies in the Mojave Desert community of Rosamond, authorities said.
A warrant had been issued for the arrest of Boone, 31, on charges that he allegedly beat his girlfriend and held her captive for nearly a week.
Nearly 3,000 miles away in the New York borough of the Bronx, and a day before Fuller’s body was found, 27-year-old Dominique Alexander was discovered hanging from a tree at Fort Tryon Park on June 9.
The city's medical examiner said on Tuesday that Alexander's cause of death was ruled to be a ‘suicide by hanging.’ However, a spokesperson for the NYPD told Gothamist than investigation into his death remains ongoing.
‘We are just trying to grieve,’ Alexander's brother, Keats Alexander, told the Daily News. ‘He was definitely loved by his family and his community. It’s just so much.’
Ropes tied into nooses, a terrorizing symbol of lynchings commonly carried out in the Jim Crow era, have been placed in several places around the country in recent days.
Ropes tied into nooses, a terrorizing symbol of lynchings commonly carried out in the Jim Crow era, have been placed in several places around the country in recent days  (Deer Island, Maine shown above)
Ropes tied into nooses, a terrorizing symbol of lynchings commonly carried out in the Jim Crow era, have been placed in several places around the country in recent days  (Deer Island, Maine shown above)
NYPD were investigating reports of a noose hanging in Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park earlier this week. Multiple apparent nooses were also found in the Bronx’s Van Cortlandt Park on Thursday night (above)
NYPD were investigating reports of a noose hanging in Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park earlier this week. Multiple apparent nooses were also found in the Bronx’s Van Cortlandt Park on Thursday night (above)
NYPD were investigating reports of a noose hanging in Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park earlier this week. Multiple apparent nooses were also found in the Bronx’s Van Cortlandt Park on Thursday night.
Residents have voiced unrest regarding local police, insisting that when they reported the disturbing sight, officers insisted the hanging knots were nothing more than harmless string, and declined to open an investigation.
On Wednesday, Fuller’s half-brother, Terron J. Boone, was fatally shot when he opened fire on Los Angeles County major crimes bureau deputies in the Mojave Desert community of Rosamond, authorities said
On Wednesday, Fuller’s half-brother, Terron J. Boone, was fatally shot when he opened fire on Los Angeles County major crimes bureau deputies in the Mojave Desert community of Rosamond, authorities said
‘I looked up and saw a noose hanging,’ Haridopolos, a 26-year-old Bronx public school teacher told Gothamist. ‘It felt like it was meant to be seen. The other two were right by a walkway, in very good lighting.’
‘I've lived in the Bronx all my life and I've never seen something like this,’ a second resident said. ‘It felt like a message, especially with Juneteenth being today.’
NYPD spokesman Sgt. Vincent Marchese said a commanding officer believed the apparent nooses were actually ‘a nylon type string to hold a piƱata.’ He noted they were found in a popular part of the park ‘where people have gatherings and parties.’
Also on Juneteeth, a holiday celebrating the end of slavery in the United States, a noose was found dangling from a power line in Deer Isle, Maine.
A large ‘White Lives Matter’ sign was found next to it, and Black Lives Matter signs vandalized and torn down.
The Hancock County Sheriff’s Office said they are investi gating the matter.

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