A young Black man was found hanging from a tree at Orlando Park over the weekend and his death was ruled a suicide. Attorney Ben Crump, and the boy’s family and community want more answers and an investigation into the death.
Nevan Baker, 22, was found dead Sunday at around 3:45 a.m. in Barker Park, near Camping World Stadium and the Washington Shores neighborhood, hanging by a rope from a tree, according to Orlando Police Department’s case report. On Thursday, OPD spokeswoman Autumn Jones said the “investigation has concluded with the determination of a suicide,” a conclusion that was based on a case synopsis from the medical examiner, which OPD released Friday, according to Yahoo! News.
However, Baker’s mother, Sharhonda James says she wants the matter looked into further. “I’m not done with this situation; it’s just beginning,” said James. “Nobody’s going to stand for this in this community.” The Orlando Sentinel requested the Medical Examiner’s autopsy report; the agency, however, said the final report has yet to be completed. In addition, the outlet has also requested photos of the scene and of Baker’s body from OPD after James said she saw injuries on the young man, including a swollen nose, bumps on his forehead and a misaligned jaw while viewing him in the morgue. “My son didn’t hang himself,” James said. “I know my child.” The outlet does not intend on publishing the photos. Baker’s mother also wants photos and videos from the scene and of her son’s body from the night of his death, Heavy.com reports.
Jones claims the department has “exhausted all leads and, at this time, there is no evidence of foul play or any kind of physical struggle.” “This is a tragic case of suicide. … We are keeping the victim, his family and friends in our thoughts during this difficult time,” said Jones who posted the statement Friday afternoon.
Despite, the suicide conclusion, activists, community leaders and attorney Ben Crump are calling for a deep investigation centering around several details. One of those details includes a witness who told police officers that his dog alerted him to Baker’s body. The witness says he was out walking his dog when the pooch broke loose; the animal ended up leading him to Baker’s body. Crump took to Twitter and addressed the incident, saying “Nevan Baker was found HANGING from a tree in Orlando. #OrlandoPolice quickly ruled his death a suicide but now we learn his hands were tied, teeth missing and face bruised. We demand transparency and a comprehensive investigation so we know exactly what happened!”
Baker’s sister is calling her brother’s death a “murder.” Jamia Douglas has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help the family cover funeral costs. On the page, Douglas describes her Baker as a “good kid” who had given “his life to Christ.” She added that Baker wanted to be an electrician and that his death has “left my family with many unanswered questions behind his murder.” In an October 10 post, the family stated that it plans on using any extra money raised toward an investigation into the young man’s death. “We are now accepting more money to pay for a further investigation for Nevan Baker’s murder. We will also organize a peaceful protest next week to get Orlando Police Department to reveal the evidence leading to this case. We need Answers. NOW!” The page has raised more than $10,000 so far.
Nevan Baker – Heavy.com