The family of a black Orlando man is calling for more scrutiny into his hanging death, insisting that authorities “cannot rule it a suicide immediately,” according to a report.
Nevan Baker, 22, was found dead shortly after 3:30 a.m. on Oct. 5 after police received a call from someone who saw a man hanging from a tree in Barker Park, news station WESH reported.
Police said they were able to free Baker by cutting a white rope, but were unable to find a pulse once he was on the ground.
Officials said no foul play was suspected in the case and ruled his death a suicide.
But Baker’s family said authorities were too quick to make that determination and want the case reopened.
“You cannot take lightly when a black person is found hanging from a tree. You cannot rule it a suicide immediately before you do a thorough investigation,” his grandmother, Francine James, told the outlet.
Sharhonda James, who is his mom, said she noticed there were injuries to his nose, forehead and jaw when she saw his body in the morgue.
“My son didn’t hang himself,” James told the Orlando Sentinel. “I know my child.”
However, police insist there were “absolutely no [other] injuries to the body.”
“Officers have exhausted all leads and, at this time, there is no evidence of foul play or any kind of physical struggle,” police said in a statement.
Baker’s mom, meanwhile, has vowed not to give up on the case.
“I’m not done with this situation; it’s just beginning,” James told the outlet. “Nobody’s going to stand for this in this community.”
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