According to a report from the Atlanta Police Department, park security discovered the man, aged 25-35, just before 5 a.m. Thursday morning, July 7, hanging from a tree by a rope near the Charles Allen entrance. Grady EMS units responded and advised the male showed no signs of life.
According to the police report, there were no discernable signs of a struggle or foul play and the scene was consistent with a suicide. A Fulton County Medical Examiner Investigator responded and concurred that the death was consistent with a suicide. The man has yet to be identified but a final cause and manner of death are pending autopsy.
Social media has been abuzz with rumors that the suicide was a lynching and that the Ku Klux Klan were spotted in the park handing out literature the evening before. APD information officer Lucasz Sajdak said there were no reports from residents or officers of the KKK in or near the park last night.
Mayor Reed released this statement on the incident:
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of a young man’s life last night in Piedmont Park. This disturbing event demands our full attention. The Atlanta Police Department (APD) is conducting a robust investigation into his death and I have asked to receive regular briefings on the status of the investigation. We have also referred the case to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 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. 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.”