The identity of the gay black man found hanging from a tree in Georgia has been revealed.
Michael George Smith Jr, known to friends as London Jermaine, who was just 22 years old, was discovered hanged from a tree in Piedmont Park last week.
Atlanta police and the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s office confirmed it was a suicide. Many on social media feared it was a ‘modern day lynching’.
There were no defensive wounds on Smith’s body, police said, and no signs of a struggle. Police found a shoe print on a garbage can, next to the tree, that matched Smith’s shoes. There were also marks from where he had climbed the tree.
Minutes before his body was found, Smith wrote his Facebook: ‘I see y’all in the nextLife… Deadass. Father forgive me.’
A Georgia Tech student, he said his family were deeply opposed to his sexuality.
On 17 June, he posted a screen capture of a conversation in which a sibling told him: ‘God doesn’t born gay people. You make yourself gay.’
Smith said: ‘My mother is teaching my siblings to dispise Gays.. I’m done with Life. I’m Hurt To The Core.’
A few days earlier, he write: ‘Being Gay in America is Hard. Being Black in America is Hard. Imagine being both #NoH8.’
As Project Q Atlanta reports, Smith went to a hospital to be treated for food poisoning. A day later, he said he was undergoing a CT scan.
‘Please No To Have Colon Cancer…I thought I was free of everything.’
Friends have gone on Facebook to pay tribute: