medical examThe Fulton County Medical Examiner has officially ruled cause of death for the man found hanging in Piedmont Park as a suicide, according to WSBTV. The victim has been identified as Michael George Smith Jr., 22, of New Jersey.

The report states the official cause of death is asphyxiation by hanging.

Park security discovered the African-American man hanging from a tree on July 7. Police were called to the scene to investigate. Upon examining the body, police said it appeared the man had tied a white rope to a thick branch of a tree and then around his neck and hanged himself.

Mayor Kasim Reed turned the matter over to the FBI for further investigation and strongly denied social media rumors that the man had been lynched by the Ku Klux Klan, who had also been falsely rumored to be handing out literature in the park the evening before Smith was found.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.