The FBI will further investigate the death of Lennon Lacy, a black teenager who was found hanging from a swing set in a trailer park in Bladenboro, North Carolina, last August. The local police department originally ruled the death a suicide, but Lacy’s family questioned the decision after an independent autopsy. The North Carolina chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was among the groups that called for further investigation.
“We are glad to hear that the request made by the North Carolina NAACP and the family of Lennon Lacy for a federal investigation has been accepted,” said NAACP North Carolina chapter president William Barber in a statement Friday. “There are too many questions and contradictions raised by our independent pathology report and stories in the community about the facts, quick conclusions, and how the death scene was not protected to leave this case unprobed and unevaluated.”
Lacy, 17, was found hanging by a dog leash and a belt five centimeters off the ground in a predominantly white trailer park on the morning of Aug. 29. Local police wrapped their investigation within four days, ruling that there had been no foul play. But his family’s independent investigation found that it would have been virtually impossible to hang himself, given the 5’9” football player’s height, weight and items found at the scene.
"When I saw him, I just knew automatically he didn't do that to himself," his mother, Claudia Lacy, told the AP. "Seventeen years old -- he had no reason to. I know my child. As a mother, I would have sensed if something was wrong to the point that he was going to harm himself."
Lacy’s family and the NAACP have questioned whether the hanging amounts to a modern-day lynching, given that the belt and dog leash used in the hanging did not belong to Lacy. The NAACP has planned a march on Saturday in Bladenboro.