Black teen lynched for his relationship with a white woman

The FBI is investigating the hanging death of a black North Carolina teenager after his family questioned an official ruling that he committed suicide, it was today revealed.

Lennon Lacy, 17, was found hanging by a dog leash and a belt from a swing set in a largely white trailer park in Bladenboro, Bladen County, less than a mile from his home, in August this year.

Although the state medical examiner ruled Lennon’s death a suicide based on reports from law enforcement and a county coroner, his family argued that it was a ‘race-based homicide’.

They pointed out that the teenager – who had no history of mental illness – had washed his uniform and packed his bag in preparation for a big football game just hours before he was found hanging.

They also said he was discovered wearing a pair of white sneakers that did not match the shoes they had last seen him in, that he did not own, and most remarkably, that were two sizes too small for him,

And they said at 6ft 4ins, Lennon could not reach up and touch the 7ft 5ins beam he apparently hanged himself from. There was no item present he could have used to reach the bar, they said.

Some relatives even went so far as to say that Lennon’s relationship with a 31-year-old white woman – who lived across the road from him – could have led to his death.

The pair’s relationship had apparently not been well received by the predominantly white community.

Meanwhile, Lennon’s teammates refused to believe he had killed himself before their high school game, which the starting linebacker had reportedly spent the entire summer training for.

One of his teammates, Anthony White, told The Inquistir that his friend had huge NFL dreams, saying: ‘He was real excited… he was looking forward to doing good in the game.’

As Lennon’s family, friends and teammates spread the word of their unease, a coalition of church leaders, lawyers and activists in the state called on federal authorities investigate Lennon’s death.

 The North Carolina branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) claimed police had reached a ‘quick four-day call’ that Lennon had taken his own life.

‘Given evidence uncovered by the (North Carolina) NAACP, there are several other possible explanations for his death besides a simple suicide,’ the Association said in a letter.

The Reverend William Barber, president of the chapter of the NAACP, said many questions remain unanswered, including why the teenager was hanging from a dog leash and a belt he did not own.

‘We don’t know what happened that terrible night,’ Mr Barber said.

Speaking to Yahoo, he added: ‘The call was made so quick. And what concerns us about that is that if Lennon Lee Lacy was white and was found hanging in a… predominantly black trailer park that was known to have some drug involvement and other things, we just don’t believe that it would have been this quick rush to say it was a suicide.

‘It would have been a very, very, very intense investigation.’

Lennon’s mother, Claudia Lacy, also backed calls for further investigation into the death of her son,

‘I just want to know what happened to my 17-year-old son; all I want is justice,’ Mrs Lacy, who identified her son’s body in the back of an ambulance at the scene, told the Guardian.

She dismissed the coroner’s findings that Lennon had been depressed over his uncle’s death, saying the loss would not have driven him to suicide and that he was, in general, a very happy person.

And she added that a number of cuts and abrasions had been found on her son’s body following his death, alongside a large bump on his head that may indicate he was hit by someone.

Speaking to AP, she said: ‘When I saw him, I just knew automatically he didn’t do that to himself.

‘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.’

Days after he was buried, Lennon’s grave was defiled – an act of vandalism that Lennon’s family believes supports their claim that he was killed in a racially-motivated homicide.

Following months of campaigning, the same coroner who ruled Lennon’s death a suicide has now questioned his initial verdict due to the high number of ‘unanswered questions’ in the case.

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