Piedmont Park hanging victim was gay Midtown man

Discussion in 'LGBT News and Events' started by OckyDub, Jul 13, 2016.

  1. OckyDub

    OckyDub is a Verified MemberOckyDub I gave the Loc'ness monstah about $3.50
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    The young man that police said took his own life in Piedmont Park – a suicide that gained national attention and fueled social media outrage – was a 22-year-old LGBT college student who lived in Midtown and faced blowback from his family for being gay.

    Michael George Smith Jr., a native of Hackensack, N.J., was found hanging from a tree near the Charles Allen Drive entrance to the park about 4:30 a.m. on Thursday. On Tuesday, Atlanta police identified the man as Smith, who is black, in an effort to quash social media speculation that his death was a "modern-day lynching." Smith's suicide came during a week of protests in Atlanta and across the nation over recent police shootings and Mayor Kasim Reed faced questions about Smith's death from protesters on Friday.

    But the Fulton County Medical Examiner's office ruled that Smith's cause of death was asphyxiation by hanging and the manner of death was suicide.

    Smith tied a white rope to a branch of the tree and then around his neck and hung himself, according to an incident report from the Atlanta Police Department. He had earbuds in his ears and was wearing a backpack, along with a grey t-shirt, black jeans and a pair of black Converse Chuck Taylors, police said.

    Police also found a large wheeled garbage can next to the tree with a shoe print on its lid that matched Smith's shoes. He also had light pollen on his shirt and marks on his jeans from climbing the tree, police said.

    There were no defensive wounds on Smith's body and no signs of a struggle, police said in the incident report.

    Just minutes before Smith's body was found, he posted a haunting message on his Facebook page – where he identifies as London Jermaine.

    [​IMG]

    On Tuesday, after Smith's name was released publicly, friends and relatives quickly identified him as London Jermaine on social media. His Facebook profile says he lived in Midtown and studied computer science at Georgia Tech. (A spokesperson for Tech said the school doesn't have a student matching Smith's information.)

    Smith posted regularly to his Facebook and Instagram accounts about being gay, his Man Candy Monday crushes, relationship issues and struggling with family over his sexual orientation.

    On June 17, he posted a screen capture of a conversation in which a sibling texted him, "God doesn't born gay people. You make yourself gay." Smith added this status to the image: "My mother is teaching my siblings to dispise Gays.. I'm done with Life. I'm Hurt To The Core."

    Four days earlier, on June 13, Smith posted again about his struggles with being gay: "Being Gay in America is Hard. Being Black in America is Hard. Imagine being both #NoH8."

    Smith was also recently coping with health problems, according to his Facebook posts.

    On May 16, Smith was apparently in a New Jersey hospital – to be treated for food poisoning, he said in a separate post – and posted this: "Honestly I'm not scared to die. I'm ready! I wish they'd speed the process up."

    In another post, Smith said he was suffering from food poisoning. But a day later, on May 17, Smithsaid he was undergoing a CT scan. "Please No to Have Colon Cancer... I thought I was free of everything."

    In another post that same day, Smith replied to a comment thread that he had cancer. "I don't want the cancer to spread. I don't wanna do kemo."

    Friends of Smith were distraught over his death. On Tuesday, Tiara BoutTHat Pla Yer posted a photo of her with Smith.

    Plz tell me my friend isn't gone I just can't believe this shit I don't wanna say r.i.p to another friend love u Michael London Jermaine see u on the other side#‎piedmontparkhanging

    And also this:

    I took this photo today lookin up at the sky and didn't even know my friend London Jermaine had gained his wings until a few hours later. So sad

    Pecan Tan Byrams said Smith "was so full of life."

    I want to take the time out to I am happy to have known you was so full of life.I remember you didn't want to get dirty when we got stuck in the mud. You laughed so hard you was crying. You had an infectious laugh that cannot be duplicated. You touches my families life from young to old and we will miss you something terrible. I pray for your grandma in London. We Love you London Jermaine we are full of grief at this time.

    Hours after a security guard discovered Smith's body in the park, Reed issued a statement saying he was "deeply saddened" and called for a "robust investigation" into his death. Atlanta police also referred the case to the FBI.

    "Everything we have seen suggests that there was no foul play involved, but I want to state clearly and unequivocally that we will not prejudge the circumstances surrounding this young man's death," Reed said in the prepared statement. "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."

    On Wednesday, the FBI referred questions about the status of its investigation to Atlanta police.

    http://www.projectq.us/atlanta/piedmont_park_hanging_victim_was_gay_midtown_man
     
    Nigerian Prince dapped this.
  2. Nick Delmacy

    Nick Delmacy is a Verified MemberNick Delmacy Da Architect
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    Very tragic story....

    Side note though: When the news first broke, all of the Blacktivists in my timeline were sharing the links and screaming about #BLM Modern Lynching...Once it came out that the guy was gay...crickets.
     
  3. OckyDub

    OckyDub is a Verified MemberOckyDub I gave the Loc'ness monstah about $3.50
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    EXACTLY! WTF?
    cpnoway:francis::mindblown:
     
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