The Greater Houston area was on edge on Monday after a man, who was initially falsely reported by a freelance reporter to be a Black male hanging from a tree, was found to actually not be Black at all.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo sent out a Tweet on Monday evening clearing up that false report, stating:
“Medical Examiners Office has identified deceased individual. He is a Hispanic/Caucasian male, and described by his family as suicidal. No signs of foul play have been found and the evidence to date points to this being a suicide. Investigation continues.”
The Hispanic/Caucasian man was found hanging from a tree in a field outside of a store located at Ella Boulevard and 610 North, around 9 am. A video of the man hanging from the tree went viral on social media, and became a major touch point for people who viewed the video.
A significant number of people, especially Black people, responded to the initial news reports with anger and concern, believing it was a Black man that was hanged. Such a reaction is not surprising, considering the current racial climate in the country, and because there were two recent public hanging incidents involving Black males in the state of California.
The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences will do an autopsy to identify the deceased man’s identity and provide an official cause of death.
More information will be forthcoming.