Lennon Lacy, 17, was found hanged with a dog leash and a belt on a swing set in North Carolina in August. His death was initially ruled a suicide, but an FBI probe into the matter indicate Lacy’s death may have been a lynching and a hate crime.
The FBI launched an investigation into the Lennon Lacy death due to “unanswered questions” by the coroner, and insistence by the North Carolina teenager’s family that the death was a “race-based” homicide. Lacy was found hanging from the swings in a “largely white” trailer park in Bladenboro – less than one mile from his home.
The North Carolina state medical examiner ruled Lacy’s death a suicide based upon law enforcement reports and documents from the Bladen County coroner. The Lacy family stated that the teen had no history of mental illness, and had washed his football uniform and packed his athletic bag in preparation for a big game just a few hours before he was found hanging from the trailer park swing set.
Lacy’s fellow football players refused to believe that their friend had committed suicide, especially before the big game. He had reportedly spent all summer training, and had been made the starting linebacker for the high school team.
“He was real excited, he was looking forward to doing good in the game,” Anthony White, a teammate said.
Friends and relatives of Lennon Lacy worked to share the story of the young man’s life and suspected suicide. Together, with a coalition of activists, church leaders, and attorneys, the FBI was courted to look into the teen’s death further.
The North Carolina branch of the NAACP maintains that there are several possible scenarios for the death other than suicide.
“I just want to know what happened to my 17-year-old son; all I want is justice,” Claudia Lacy, Lennon’s mother, told the Guardian. “I feel the SBI [state police] investigators interrogated me. They were not trying to find out the truth of what happened to my son, they were pushing towards a verdict of suicide.”
Lennon Lacy was reportedly in a romantic relationship with a “white woman” who lived across the road. The teenager’s mother added that multiple cuts, scrapes, and a large bump on his head could indicate that he was attacked or hit by someone. The NAACP is organizing a march in Bladenboro on Saturday to draw more attention to the case.
“I don’t believe that a thorough investigation has been done… The concern is that there’s been a rush to judgment – a desire quickly to settle any issue over the cause of death,” Lacy family attorney Allen Rogers said.
[Image via: Daily Mail]