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T he FBI, the U. The announcement came after the families of both men publicly demanded further investigations into their deaths. On the morning of May 31, the body of Malcolm Harsch, a year-old Black man, was found hanging from a tree near a homeless encampment in Victorville, Calif.


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Written By Keya Vakil. In the three weeks since Minneapolis police officers killed George Floyd, the United States has been rocked by civil unrest on a scale not seen since the s. Against that backdrop, a disturbing new trend has emerged: Four Black men have been found hanging from trees in less than three weeks.

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The image of a Black man hanging from a tree is seared into the American psyche as the embodiment of racism in all its ugliness and cruelty. There must be a thorough probe, and findings must be made public.

Officials quickly labeled it a suicide, but protesters to their credit immediately demanded a deeper investigation. How likely is it that a man would hang himself from a tree?

Feds to review cases into hanging deaths of 2 black men

It is not unheard ofbut it is hardly reassuring to note that two weeks earlier the body of year-old Malcolm Harsch was found hanging from a tree in Victorville, a desert city at the opposite end of the storied Pearblossom Highway from Palmdale. Coincidence is possible. But so is a pattern. Until a generation ago, much of the desert just north of Los Angeles and San Bernardino was dotted with mostly white communities that attracted families seeking homes that were more affordable and a lifestyle that was less urban than what was found in the packed cities south of the mountains.

Editorial: two black men hanging from trees in southern california? leave no stone unturned investigating

They were ed in the s by a large migration from L. The relatively quick demographic change brought some tension and several instances of violence. County Dist. Jackie Lacey is today vocally opposed by protesters angry that she has not prosecuted police who have killed unarmed Black men.

Lacey said that they had set out to kill a Black man and that, when they had done it, they celebrated by getting tattoos. The verdict was about this: We are not going back there.

Justice will be served. Those are the words that ought to be on our minds when we see the videotaped killing of Ahmaud Arberywho was chased down this year by white men in Georgia and shot to death.

We will not go back there — and yet here we are. That was the South, but those same words echo when we see the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. And yes, Floyd was killed not by a lynch mob but by a police officer. Yet the brutality and gratuitousness of the killing lend it the caustic flavor of a lynching. We will not go back there, yet here we are. People around the nation are marching in resolve and anger against the continuing individual and institutional — and deadly — anti-Black racism still ingrained in our society.

We struggle with the lines that separate the killing of people like Breonna Taylor in her own home by police officers from the killing of people like Arbery by civilians.

4 black men were found hanged in 3 weeks. what is happening?

We leave no stone unturned until we can determine conclusively that these men were not killed by others, but by themselves. And then, if we conclude that it could not have been murder but must have been suicide, we must recognize that our work is not done.

We will have to ask ourselves: Why would a young Black man in the 21st century United States kill himself? Suicide in the Black community was historically low but is on the riseespecially among teenagers and young adults.

Where did we go wrong? And, whether it be murder or suicide, how do we prevent such a thing from happening again? The editorial board opines on the important issues of the day — exhorting, explaining, deploring, mourning, applauding or championing, as the case may be.

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Fbi 'actively reviewing' investigations into hanging deaths of two black men in southern california

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