Jan 24, 2011

 
 
The idea of a so-called post-racial America was widely discussed, debated and even seen as an achievement by some with Barack Obama's inauguration as president of the United States.

For Blacks in Greenwood, Mississippi, the notion that America has gotten beyond race isn't popular today. Many are angry over the recent mysterious hanging death of Frederick Jermaine Carter.

"This is 2010 and we still have Black people hanging from trees? They're saying he hung himself but I have doubt in my mind that he actually did that. That wasn't his character. This wasn't a suicide, this was a homicide," said Sunflower, Miss., Mayor Michael Pembleton, Jr. to The Final Call.

The body of Mr. Carter, 26, was found Dec. 3 hanging from an oak tree in the predominately White North Greenwood area of Leflore County. The young man lived in neighboring Sunflower County, located several miles away.
Mr. Carter's stepfather told law enforcement that he was working in the area with his stepson when Mr. Carter wandered off.

County Sheriff Ricky Banks reportedly told the media the young man had a "mental condition and a history of wandering off." He also publicly stated that he saw no signs at the scene pointing towards it being a crime or murder.

Mr. Banks said evidence shows Mr. Carter dragged an old frame of a nearby table, leaned it against the trunk of the tree and commenced to tying himself to the tree limb.

"The frame probably broke, possibly because Carter kicked it out from under himself," Mr. Banks told reporters.

The preliminary autopsy results by the Leflore County Coroner's Office declared it a suicide.

The deceased man's family and community leaders don't accept the official explanations and are calling for further investigation.

"Because there has been no investigation on the part of the local officials into this as a crime, we're calling on the federal government to conduct an independent investigation. We want the U.S. Justice department to look into this," attorney Valerie Hicks Powe told The Final Call in a phone interview on Dec. 13.

Ms. Powe, who is based in Birmingham, Ala., is the spokesperson for the victim's family. "A crime scene was never established. They never roped the scene off and this has not been treated as a crime. There is no reason to believe that he would commit suicide. We appreciate attention being brought to this because we need an outcry from the people," she said.
 

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