Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed released a statement on the discovery of a black man’s body hanging from a tree in Piedmont Park on Thursday morning. Police on the scene quickly — some believe too quickly — said there was no evidence of foul play and that “the body found was the victim of a suicide,” according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Numerous Twitter accounts reported that the KKK had been in Piedmont Park recently passing out flyers, which further ignited suspicions that the suicide conclusion was premature.
Mayor Reed’s statement reiterated that the evidence so far does not indicate “foul play” and promised a robust investigation that would include the FBI. Despite that early conclusion, Reed wrote “clearly and unequivocally that we will not prejudge the circumstances surrounding this young man’s death.” Reed has been Atlanta’s mayor since 2010. Read the full statement below:
“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.”